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Montgomery takes leave after cancer surgery

Gillick in charge with team president recovering; no changes coming to organization

Montgomery takes leave after cancer surgery

NEW YORK -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had a short, but simple message to his players Friday afternoon at Citi Field:

Pat Gillick is in charge while Phillies president David Montgomery takes a leave of absence to recover from jaw bone cancer surgery, but that does not mean changes are coming to the organization. In fact, Amaro said, it will be business as usual.

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"Pat Gillick will be in [Montgomery's] stead on an interim basis," Amaro said he told players at Citi Field. "I'm the GM. That's not going to change. [Ryne Sandberg] is the manager. That's not going to change. And we'll go about our business status quo. I'll report to Pat. Ryne will report to me. And this is merely on an interim basis."

Amaro was very emphatic that his role as general manager and Sandberg's role as manager are not going to change. But there is reason for that. Sources said Gillick has spoken to multiple people on the baseball operations staff since he assumed his new role and assured them they can go about their business without fear of change.

Sandberg confirmed he spoke with Gillick on Thursday.

"Everything is status quo, yes," Sandberg said about the conversation.

So no changes to anything regarding baseball operations?

"There's no change," Amaro said.

Even given the fact Gillick has such an extensive baseball background? He was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010 for his immense success as a general manager. He served as the Phillies' GM from 2005-08, building the team that won the '08 World Series.

"There's no change," Amaro repeated.

Asked if he expects this to last through the season, Amaro said, "Whenever David's back and physically able to come back, he will be back and he will take his role. ... We're all concerned about David, and that's really the priority, is David."

Other than that, the Phillies said little.

"We're not really at liberty to really discuss much more about it," Amaro said.

"Just prayers and thoughts are with him for a speedy recovery," Sandberg said. "I'm supposed to keep this at a minimum. I think it was already addressed."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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