Today: Ryne Sandberg’s first camp as manager

Though Ryne Sandberg got a taste of managing the Phillies for the final 42 games of last season, it feels as if his tenure won’t start in earnest until the first workout of spring training.

Even Sandberg recently alluded to that idea.

“Those last 42 games were huge as far as being able to put some things in place and create some structure and an attitude of work ethic,” he said. “We’ll start over on Day 1 of spring training and I’ll really get to do it my way.”

Sandberg’s knowledge of the Phillies' organization and his roster extends well beyond the 42 games he managed after Charlie Manuel was let go in August. He was the team’s third base coach for 4½ months last season and managed the organization’s Triple A club in 2011 and 2012. He spent spring training and September with the big club both of those seasons.

So Sandberg knows the lay of the land. And his baseball credentials are sparkling. He was a Hall of Fame player with the Chicago Cubs. As a skipper, he was the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year in 2010 and Baseball America’s Minor-League Manager of the Year in 2011.

Though Sandberg was a superstar player, he never coasted. He was known for bringing a blue-collar work ethic to the game. Those who know him well say he prepared and practiced like a player who had to fight for his job each spring.

Sandberg will try to instill that same approach in his players in his first camp.

Actually, he started instilling it last spring. Manuel gave him the freedom to conduct extra fundamental work, particularly on defense, with players. Sandberg conducted those sessions very quietly last season, often with just a few players at a time. They gained more attention after he took over for Manuel.