CLEARWATER, Fla. – Charlie Manuel figures he has plenty of time to see his grandchildren, play golf and travel the world during the offseason.
Manuel, who is in the final season of his contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, made it clear he wants to continue as manager beyond this year. Retirement plans haven’t even entered his mind.
“I still want to manage,” Manuel told The Associated Press on Thursday. “I’m not ready for somebody to tell me to go home. I’m not ready to quit managing. I’m not ready to get out of the game.”
Manuel is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins and only the second manager to lead the Phillies to a world championship. It’s widely assumed that Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg, the team’s new third-base coach, will eventually replace him as the manager.
If the Phillies struggle this season, people will call for Sandberg to replace Manuel immediately. If the Phillies win it all, some think the 69-year-old Manuel would be willing to walk away on top.
That’s not the case.
“I don’t want anyone to think that,” Manuel insisted. “I still want to manage.”
Manuel has led the Phillies to five straight NL East titles, two pennants and the 2008 World Series title. The postseason streak ended last year when the Phillies couldn’t overcome a slew of injuries and finished 81-81.
Considering his success and desire to keep his job, a contract extension would seem appropriate. But general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made it clear that’s not happening now.
“We’ll see what happens at the end of the year and go from there,” Amaro said.
TWINS: Right-hander Kyle Gibson will begin his comeback season from Tommy John surgery in the minors.
The Twins optioned Gibson to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday.
The former first-round draft pick was considered among the favorites to make the Twins rotation to start the season. But he struggled with his command in four spring training outings.
CARDINALS: Manager Mike Matheny returned to the club’s spring training camp in Jupiter, Fla., after undergoing back surgery Monday in St. Louis.
Matheny was beset with severe pain for several days, stemming from a ruptured disc in his back that caused particles to come into contact with a nerve. Surgeons found and removed four particles during a 90-minute procedure, known as a microdiscectomy
PHILLIES 2, PIRATES 1: Pete Orr hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning to lift Philadelphia past Pittsburgh in exhibition play in Clearwater, Fla.
Orr, a veteran utilityman, connected off former Phillies left-hander Mike Zagurski, hitting a long drive to right.
Phillies starter Aaron Cook tossed three one-hit innings. Cook, who has made one relief appearance since 2003, is trying to make the roster as a long man in the bullpen.
Pirates starter Kyle McPherson, who is vying for the fifth spot in Pittsburgh’s rotation, threw five scoreless innings, allowing four hits.
CUBS 8, DODGERS 1: Catcher Welington Castillo hit a two-run triple off Chris Capuano in the first inning, leading Chicago over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.
Cubs’ left-hander Chris Rusin threw five innings of one-hit ball.
MARINERS 8, REDS 7: Michael Morse homered twice and drove in five runs to lead Seattle back from a six-run deficit for a win over Cincinnati in Peoria, Ariz.
Morse doubled and scored in the second inning, hit his first two-run shot in the fourth off Reds starter Homer Bailey and connected for his second two-run shot in the fifth off reliever Clay Hensley. Morse is 11-for-31 in spring training and leads the team in home runs with five.
RAYS 4, ORIOLES 3: Bidding for the fifth starter’s job, Jeff Niemann allowed one run in 41/3 innings as Tampa Bay beat Baltimore in Sarasota, Fla.
Niemann, who’s allowed three runs in 122/3 innings this spring left with a runner on. Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Juan Sandoval to tie it at 3.
In his first start for Baltimore, Kevin Gausman, the Orioles first pick in the 2012 draft, allowed two runs in 2 2-3 innings. Luke Scott gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead with a two-run home run.
JAPAN 6, GIANTS 3: Japan roughed up San Francisco starter Yusmeiro Petit for four runs and six of its 11 hits in four innings, beating the Giants 6-3 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Sho Nakata had three hits, and Takashi Toritani added two hits and two RBIs for Japan, tuning up for its appearance in the World Baseball Classic semifinals in San Francisco on Sunday.
ROYALS 5, INDIANS 3: Adam Moore hit two of Kansas City’s’ seven doubles and drove in two runs in a victory over Cleveland in Goodyear, Ariz.
Moore, bidding for a job as backup catcher, had three hits as the designated hitter.
Starting catcher Salvador Perez had two hits, including a double. Mike Moustakas, David Lough, Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz all had doubles.