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Ryne Sandberg among three coaches added to Phillies staff

Ryne Sandberg, the Hall of Famer viewed as a potential successor to Charlie Manuel, was added to the Phillies coaching staff Thursday. Sandberg wil serve as Manuel's third-base coach and infield instructor in 2013.

He was among a plethora of changes announced. Only pitching coach Rich Dubee will remain in his 2012 role. The team will not have a bench coach next season.

Two others from the minor-league system were promoted. Steve Henderson, the organization's roving hitting instructor, was named hitting coach. Rod Nichols, who served as pitching coach at triple-A Lehigh Valley, was named bullpen coach.

Mick Billmeyer was "promoted" to catching coach, the Phillies said. Billmeyer is the longest-tenured member of Manuel's staff. He served as bullpen coach for the last four seasons and was major-league catching instructor for five seaons before that.

Juan Samuel was offered the first-base coach job and has yet to accept.

The Phillies did not retain three coaches -- Sam Perlozzo, Pete Mackanin and Greg Gross -- immediately following the conclusion of Wednesday's last game.

Finding a spot for Sandberg was paramount. Manuel has one season remaining on his contract and could retire after 2013. The franchise's decision-makers have an affinity for Sandberg, who managed at triple-A Lehigh Valley for the last two seasons.

Sandberg, of course, could still interview for managerial openings this winter. He interviewed with St. Louis last winter for its job.

Henderson, 61, was formerly hitting coach for Tampa Bay from 2006-09. He spent the last two seasons as the Phillies minor-league hitting coordinator.

Nichols, 47, mentored many of the young pitchers who have come through the Phillies system. With another young bullpen expected, Nichols could be instrumental in overseeing its development.

It's uncommon for teams to have a staff without a bench coach; Detroit was the only team in 2012 that did not retain one. But Manuel has long trusted Dubee as his righthand man. Billmeyer, now in the dugout, could ascend to a higher role.

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