8/11 Hoffpauir backs Ryno

If Ryne Sandberg needs a reference as he pursues a big league managing job, he can call Micah Hoffpauir. Hoffpauir, who has played for Sandberg this season at Triple-A Iowa, said the Hall of Fame second baseman supported him when he struggled during the first two months.

“I like him,” Hoffpauir said. “I think he’s a great players’ manager, I think he knows the game. I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be a great big league manager.

“He loves to be in the lockerroom and if the pitchers are out throwing, he’s out there talking, hanging out, seeing what they’re doing,” Hoffpauir said. “If we’re in the cage, he comes in. He’s always around, he’s always there. I think he’s going to be a good manager.”

Sandberg has gotten lots of media attention since Lou Piniella announced he was retiring at the end of this season. The Cubs will be looking for a new manager and Sandberg has made it clear he’d like the job.

“I think Ryno’s worried about one thing and that’s getting himself ready to be in the big leagues,” Hoffpauir said. “I was walking by the other day and a reporter asked him, ‘Do you want to manage in the big leagues?’ and he kind of giggled and said, ‘Yeah, that’s why I’m doing this.’

“He’s there in Iowa trying to learn as quickly and as well as he can how to be a manager, how to handle a game,” Hoffpauir said. “I think he’s done a great job. He’s shown maturity from the standpoint of being behind his players. That’s one thing I absolutely love. He’s very quiet and soft spoken but if something happens, he’s got your back.”

— Carrie Muskat

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