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Sandberg's players voice approval of his return

PHILADELPHIA -- The only thing that surprised Jimmy Rollins on Sunday morning is that he had to leave the hot tub in the Phillies' clubhouse to hear general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. tell everybody Ryne Sandberg had been officially named the 52nd manager in franchise history.

Everybody knew it would happen, especially Rollins.

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"It wasn't news to me," he said following Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. "I guess the outside world doesn't have to guess."

Players applauded when Amaro made the move official. They have responded favorably to Sandberg since he replaced Charlie Manuel on Aug. 16.

"The first day he came over and pretty much told me his agenda," Rollins said. "I was fine with that. I never really have a problem with who is the head and what they want to get done. I have to do my part and figure out how to get the guys on board and push them in that direction. He's a different energy. It definitely carries to the younger guys.

"The guys who have played for him, they know him well. They know the type of manager he is and his style. The other guys have gotten used to him. He's a great baseball mind. It would be not smart to let him sit over there at third base [as a coach] when an opportunity like this was in place."

Cliff Lee echoed that sentiment.

"I think it's good," he said. "He's done a great job since he's been here. Easy to play for. Couldn't ask for anything more out of a manager."

Sandberg acknowledged he wasn't much of a communicator during his playing days. He was laser focused on his task as a player, but he has been vocal to this point. He has clearly stated his expectations during team meetings and pulled individual players aside if he wants to see something different from them.

"He definitely communicates," Chase Utley said. "One thing I like is he's positive. He hasn't forgotten how difficult this game can be at times. Sometimes the further away you get from the game the easier it becomes. That's definitely not the case with him."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for

Philadelphia Phillies