Phillies remove interim tag from Sandberg

The Philadelphia Phillies took the interim tag off manager Ryne Sandberg and signed him to a three-year contract through 2016 with a club option for 2017.

Struggling through a tough season, the Phillies decided to make a managerial change on Aug. 16 and replaced Charlie Manuel with the Hall of Fame second baseman. Since then, the team has posted an 18-16 record entering Sunday.

"We are pleased to announce that Ryne Sandberg will be our major league manager," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said. "We feel that Ryne has the qualities and leadership skills that are essential to move our club and our organization forward. Ryne's six years as a minor league manager, Hall of Fame credentials and work ethic warrant this opportunity."

The 69-year-old Manuel had been at the helm since 2005 and departed as the winningest manager in Phillies history with a record of 780-636 over his eight-plus years. He guided the franchise to five straight division titles from 2007 through 2011, as well as the club's second World Series championship after the 2008 campaign.

During the Phillies' National League East reign, they saw their win total increase every year from 89 in 2007 to a franchise-record 102 in 2011.

However, the Phillies were just 71-83 entering Sunday's game and will finish 2013 with their first losing season since the 2002 team finished 80-81 under Larry Bowa. Last year's squad needed a late surge to finish 81-81.

"This is a top-notch organization," Sandberg said. "I think the standards have been set on what the expectations are, especially the last nine or 10 years. And that's the goal, to get back to there as soon as possible."

Sandberg began the 2013 season as the Phillies third base coach, his first major league coaching position. This year is his third in the Phillies organization, having served the first two as the manager for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he went 155-132 and led the team to their first playoff appearance.

The 54-year-old Sandberg also managed four years in the Chicago Cubs system and compiled a 439-409-1 record as a skipper in the minors.

Sandberg was a 10-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner during his playing career. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.