NASHVILLE - The last time Charlie Manuel arrived at spring training on the final year of a contract, his agent, Pat Rooney, negotiated a two-year extension with the Phillies.
The final year of that extension is 2013, but there is zero indication the Phillies are interested in negotiating another extension with the most successful manager in franchise history. Manuel turns 69 next month, and this will be his ninth season as manager.
Many believe the Phillies promoted Manuel's successor when Ryne Sandberg was added to the coaching staff after last season, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. denied that was the case in October. Manuel was asked Wednesday if he was frustrated by the slow process of upgrading the roster given that this could be his last season.
"I want the best team in baseball, but at the same time I ain't worried about my job," he said. "I'm going to give you everything I've got anyway. I've gone through years where I didn't have a contract. I have a lot of confidence in myself. I have a lot of confidence in getting a job, really.
"But at the same time, I'm not saying I do not want to manage in Philadelphia, something like that, because the Phillies are the only thing that's on my mind right now. I'm not thinking about losing my job."
Manuel said it does not bother him that some people assume this will be his final season.
"When I first got that job . . . I heard that for, I don't know, two, three years. Then I heard that until we won, and then it quieted down some. . . . It doesn't bother me. Really, I think I'm outgrowing that by now."
Extra bases. Manuel said he anticipates Erik Kratz will be the starting catcher while Carlos Ruiz serves a 25-game suspension to open the season.