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Cubs looking past Sandberg?

Don't dust off those Ryne Sandberg jerseys just yet, Cubs fans. The front office has thrown the longtime Wee Bears second baseman a curve in the road to its manager's office.

GM Jim Hendry told the Chicago Sun Times that he prefers a manager with major league experience to fill the shoes of the recently departed Lou Piniella. That would seem to count out Sandberg, who is currently the manager of the Class AAA Iowa Cubs but has never managed at the big league level.

Hendry is said to prefer fomer Marlins manager Fredi Gonzales to Sandberg. But can he really afford to make that move? It will almost surely alienate the team's best player of the last 40 years or so. And the Cubs aren't exactly the sort of organization that can afford to absorb a little bit more bad press.

If the Cubs want to keep Sandberg around but want him to get some exposure at the major league level, they might want to promote him to be the major league bench coach and hire a short term veteran to be the manager for a year or two while Sandberg gets his feet wet. Joe Torre whose contract to manage the Dodgers expires after this season, might be a good choice.

But who said the Cubs are ever concerned about making good choices?