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Bowa, Sandberg unite, as promised, on Phillies' staff

Bowa, Sandberg unite, as promised, on Phillies' staff

Bowa, Sandberg unite, as promised, on Phillies' staff

When Larry Bowa told then-Cubs Minor League manager Ryne Sandberg that he had the look of a future big league skipper, Sandberg told Bowa that was the end goal. Sandberg also told Bowa that when the time came, he wanted the long-time baseball man to be part of his coaching staff.

And when the interim tag was officially lifted off Sandberg last month and he was looking to fill his first coaching staff, Bowa jumped at the chance to return to the Phillies' dugout.

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Bowa -- a former Phillies player (1970-81), coach (1988-96) and manager (2001-04) -- was formally introduced as the team's bench coach Wednesday on a conference call.

Pete Mackanin, another former Phillies player (1978-79) and long-time Major League coach -- including in Philadelphia (2009-12) -- was also introduced as the club's third-base coach.

Bowa spent the past three years as an in-studio analyst for MLB Network, while Mackanin was an advance scout with the Yankees in 2013.

Bowa was traded from Philadelphia as a player along with Sandberg in 1982 and was let go as manager near the end of the 2004 season, but said there was no ill-will while discussing a return.

"Anybody who gets fired, obviously you're upset, but as far as taking any shots or anything, I never did that," Bowa said. "The only time I had a problem was when I got traded as a player."

Bowa worked as a coach under Joe Torre with the Yankees and Dodgers prior to his stint with MLB Network, and said he learned a great deal about patience and handling pressure situations.

He also said he sees much of the same qualities in Sandberg.

"It obviously looks like [Sandberg's] personality is very similar to Joe, as far as demeanor on the bench the six weeks I watched him," Bowa said. "And Ryno is very knowledgable with what he's doing. I see this as a good situation."

Mackanin also said he felt no hesitancy in returning to the organization after being let go following the 2012 season, adding he believes his year as a scout gives him a different perspective this time around.

An injury-riddled 2013 campaign that saw the Phillies finish fourth in the National League East at 73-89 has the club searching for answers. While Bowa doesn't like to make excuses for injuries, the ones to Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and Ben Revere undoubtedly hindered the Phillies this season.

The play of Jimmy Rollins -- who slashed .252/.318/.348 with a career-low six home runs in 160 games -- has also raised concern. But Bowa said he believes "Jimmy's probably the least of our worries as a staff."

Instead, Bowa believes it was pitching and outfield play that led to the Phillies struggles, which aligns with the views of general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., and Sandberg.

"You never have enough pitching, and the outfield play was not what it should be," Bowa said of the 2013 Phillies. "That doesn't mean you go out and get an outfielder. That means whoever you have out there ... Ruben puts the team together, as coaches and Ryno as a manager, you've got to do your best to make them better."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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