PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Willie McGee . didnt see a reason to wait until the off-season to explore other possibilities. The Philadelphia Phillies removed the interim tag from Ryne Sandberg, signing him Sunday to manage the next three years. "I think this is the right person to take us forward," Amaro explained on the decision not to wait. "I know his philosophy on the importance of cohesiveness throughout the organization, and thats exactly what were looking for. I know he understands the importance of player development and scouting, hes got an idea and a vision of whats necessary to move this organization forward." Sandberg had been serving as interim manager since the Phillies fired Charlie Manuel on Aug. 16. He entered the season as the Phillies third-base coach after managing the teams Triple-A Lehigh Valley club for two years previously. The move was not a surprise, but Sandberg expressed his relief that it finally became official. "I think theres been a very large weight lifted off of me," Sandberg said. "Im still focused on the last eight games -- still focused on todays game to tell you the truth -- but Im looking forward to not only the eight games left but to 2014 and getting the wheels turning in that direction." Before joining the Phillies organization, Sandberg managed in the Chicago Cubs minor-league system for four years. As a player, Sandberg spent 15 of 16 major-league seasons with the Cubs. He left the organization in 2010 shortly after Chicago named Mike Quade its manager to join the Phillies, the team that originally drafted him and ultimately traded him to the Cubs in 1982. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005, Sandberg hopes to overcome the notion that Hall of Fame players cant make good managers. "I dont know too many Hall of Famers who went to the minor leagues for six years to work their way up," Sandberg said. "I thought it was necessary. It was also the only job that was offered at the time -- that had something to do with it. As it turns out, it was the right path." The new skipper also believes he can succeed because hes a great communicator. "Communication is one of my strengths, which is ironic because as a player I think I wasnt strong at all at communicating. I was focused on catching the ball and hitting it, and it kind of stopped there," Sandberg said. "That was all part of going to the minor leagues and aging a little bit and maturing. "And I think raising five kids in the house, all teenagers at once, I think the communication skills really developed then too, and its continued." Since Sandberg took over in mid-August, the Phillies have gone 18-16. They were 53-67 at the time he took over the ballclub. "Based on the body of work that he did for us, we had to kind of take that into account," Amaro said. "It was very, very clear to me right from the get-go the way he handled the transition, which was a very difficult period, having to take over for an icon of sorts in Phillies history in Charlie (Manuel). "It was a very difficult circumstance, and he handled it well. He handled the players well and he handled the clubhouse well. I really liked the instincts and how he handled things." Sandberg signed a three-year contract, taking him through 2016 with a club option for 2017. Rogers Hornsby .200. His solution to his hitting woes was business in the front and a party in the back."That would be a mullet," Norris says. Mark McGwire . But San Diego had even more trouble against right-hander Tanner Roark, who pitched a three-hitter for the first complete game of his career as the Nationals shut out the Padres 4-0. The 27-year-old set down the first 16 batters before San Diego catcher Rene Rivera, an .(SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James has lifted the Miami Heat within one game of the Eastern Conference Finals, and hell try to finish off the Brooklyn Nets when the two sides meet in Game 5 of the East semis Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena. After the two-time defending champion Heat lost Game 3 in Brooklyn, James, the MVP runner-up, put Miami on his back in Game 4 Wednesday night, a 102-96 victory. James scored 49 points, matching his career-high in the playoffs, and the Heat bounced back two days after having their eight-game postseason winning streak snapped. James was 16-of-24 from the field and 14-of-19 at the foul line. He missed a free throw with 1.1 seconds left and a chance to reach 50. He also scored 49 points for Cleveland in Game 1 of the 2009 conference finals against Orlando. "Whatever I needed to do to help us win, it needed to be done -- offensively, defensively, being the leader that I am on the floor, helping us overcome any adversity," said James. Dwyane Wade added 15 points for the second-seeded Heat, Chris Bosh scored 12 and Ray Allen had 11 off the bench. Miami shot just shy of 53 percent. Joe Johnson had 18 points to lead a well-rounded Nets effort. Paul Pierce chipped in 16 and Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston both scored 13. James piicked up his fifth foul and Kevin Garnett made two free throws to tie the score with less than a minute to go. Daniel Ponce de Leon. Surrounded by Garnett and Pierce down low, James kicked the ball back to Mario Chalmers up top and Chalmers swung it to Bosh in the right corner. Bosh buried the 3-pointer to break the tie, sparking an 8-2 Miami run to end the game. James had that free throw with a hair over one second left for the magical 50- point plateau, but missed, and he muttered something to himself. "Thats the first time Ive been disappointed in myself in a win," said James. "It definitely wont take away from the fact it was a huge game for us, being able to win this ball game. "But it was a free throw. I hate missing free throws." Now the series shifts back to South Beach, where the Heat are 4-0 this postseason. Brooklyn took both regular-season meetings in Miami and this veteran-laden squad isnt booking tee times just yet. "The series is far from over," said Pierce. "Weve got to go down there, try to get one game and force the series back at home. Just one, weve just got to get one game. Thats the mindset." Miami will try to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth straight season. If necessary, Game 6 would be Friday night in Brooklyn. ' ' '
Phillies general manager Ruben A
Phillies general manager Ruben A