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CHICAGO -- Ryne Sandberg grinned the whole time. [url=http://www.officialpredatorspro
CHICAGO -- Ryne Sandberg grinned the whole time. Mike Ribeiro Jersey . On a hot, sweaty day, the Hall of Famer looked cool and comfortable. Back at Wrigley Field for the first time as a major league manager, this was exactly where he wanted to be. Sandberg brought his Philadelphia Phillies to Chicago on Friday to open a three-game series against the Cubs. It was his first trip to the ballpark where he rose to prominence during a 16-year playing career since he was promoted to the interim job on Aug. 16 after Charlie Manuel was fired. "It means so much," Sandberg said from the visitors dugout on Friday. "A little different view from this angle here looking out but other than that, this was a place that was very comfortable for me as a player. It always solved any slumps that I was in as a hitter." Sandbergs consistent, steady play over 15 seasons in Chicago turned him into one of the most beloved figures in the history of the woebegone franchise. Nicknamed "Ryno," he finished his career with a .285 batting average, 282 homers and 1,061 RBIs. The second baseman had his No. 23 retired by the team in 2005, the same year he was enshrined in Cooperstown. He got quite the reception in his return to Chicagos cozy neighbourhood ballpark. The marquee at one neighbouring bar read "WELCOME HOME RYNO," and the Cubs showed highlights from Sandbergs career on the scoreboard in right field before the game, along with a welcome back message. The smallish afternoon crowd cheered when he was introduced along with Philadelphias starting lineup, and again when he brought the lineup card out to home plate. "The guy coming back to a place that he was a Hall of Famer deserves a lot of attention," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He had one heck of a career here in Chicago. On the field, off the field, the ultimate professional." The 53-year-old Sandberg also began his coaching career in Chicagos minor league system, working his way up from managing Class A Peoria to Triple-A Iowa over four seasons. But he was passed over twice when the Cubs were looking for a manager, first when Mike Quade was retained by Jim Hendry in 2010 and again when Theo Epstein selected Sveum for the role two years ago. If Sandberg harbours any ill will over the twin rejections, he showed no signs of it Friday. "Im doing what I want to do, so thats the main thing," said Sandberg, who managed Philadelphias Triple-A team for two seasons before beginning this year as the third base coach and infield instructor under Manuel. "Thats baseball, and moving on was important for me to get back to the major leagues, the way that I looked at it and the way I felt." Sandberg actually was drafted by Philadelphia and broke into the majors with the Phillies in 1981, playing 13 games in September and October. He got six at-bats during his first stint, but managed to get his first major league hit in a 14-0 loss at the Cubs on Sept. 27. That was it for Sandbergs playing time in Philadelphia, which traded the infielder and Larry Bowa to Chicago for speedy Ivan de Jesus that January. It turned into one of the most lopsided trades in the long history of both franchises. The change of scenery helped Sandberg blossom into one of baseballs best players. He won the NL MVP award in 1984, when he hit .314 with 19 homers and 84 RBIs while powering the Cubs to their first playoff appearance since 1945. He also made the All-Star team for the first time and won his second Gold Glove that year. While the Phillies are still getting to know Sandberg as a manager, his long playing career certainly helps with his credibility in their veteran clubhouse. "When he played, being a middle infielder and the captain of the team, he (was) already a manager," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "He (was) a manager on the field, game situations." Sandberg said he learned a lot about managing while working in the minors. Structure and organization are important to him, all the way down to his ticket plan for his return to Wrigley -- just family, which was up to 15 as of Friday morning, including five grandsons. Going through all those bus rides in the minors while working his way back to the majors as a coach also deepened his appreciation for working in the majors, making his games in Chicago more special. "I take it all in now and relish every moment, so Im looking forward to it," he said. Kevin Fiala Jersey . -- Chris Crawford hit a 3-pointer with 1:36 left to put Memphis ahead to stay, and the 21st-ranked Tigers beat seventh-ranked Louisville 72-66 Saturday, sweeping the season series from the Cardinals. Marek Mazanec Jersey .Pete Morelli said the back judge threw a flag on Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens on a pass to Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew in Dallas 24-20 wild-card win Sunday. But the head linesman said there wasnt enough contact and that Hitchens was face-guarding, which isnt a penalty in the NFL. . Reyes, 26, was traded from Atlanta to Toronto in July 2010 and spent the remainder of the season in the minors. He began 2011 in the majors and made 20 starts with the Blue Jays, going 5-8 with a 5.40 earned run average before he was waived on Aug.VANCOUVER - A weak second period, marred by a soft goal on Eddie Lack, was all the Vancouver Canucks needed to extend their losing streak to five games.Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots for his second shutout of the season and the 29th of his career as the Dallas Stars defeated Vancouver 2-0 on Wednesday night.Lack, starting for the first time since Dec. 7 in place of No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller, said Dallas first goal — off a weak backhand shot from Colton Sceviour at 2:53 of the second — helped sway the momentum of the game.Its a weak goal, what else can I say? said Lack, who made 27 saves. I was kind of in between — should I get it with my stick or with my glove? — and it just screwed me.Sceviours goal deflected off the back of Lacks glove and in to give the Stars (12-13-5) the only offence they would need. Antoine Roussel added an empty-net goal with 26 seconds remaining in the third period.I was just trying to throw it out to the front to maybe get a rebound, Sceviour said of his goal. I was fortunate enough to get a bounce and it went in.After a slow first period, Dallas increased its pressure throughout the second, forcing 11 saves out of Lack, while Vancouver could only muster four shots — including a clear breakaway from Alexandre Burrows that Lehtonen denied.Vancouver (18-11-2), which hasnt scored a goal on the man advantage since a victory over the Capitals on Dec. 2, were blanked on the night as the Stars goalie made some key saves throughout the game.We got to at least get the momentum in our power-play, said Henrik Sedin. That didnt happen in the second, I think thats what turned the momentum around for them.The Canucks best chances came in the first and third periods as they peppered Lehtonens goal with shots.A Chris Higgins breakaway in the first period was denied by the Stars netminder.I thoought our third period was good, created stuff on the last power play but you know our second period wasnt a good period for us and it probably cost us the game, said head coach Willie Desjardins. Ryan Ellis Jersey. Jannik Hansen had a great chance for Vancouver seconds before the Stars opening goal, stripping Jyrki Jokipakka at the Dallas blue-line before Lehtonen stopped him with a glove save.The Canucks came out stronger in the third period with both Chris Tanev and Linden Vey aiming one-timers at Lehtonen.Lack had to make a couple of big saves to keep his team in it as the period wound down, including a breakaway shot from Curtis McKenzie, which Lack stopped with his pads.Vancouver pulled its goalie with 1:35 left as the Canucks piled on the pressure, but Roussel scored into the empty net with 26 seconds to go.Unlike Saturdays game when the Canucks found themselves down 3-0 after just 6:46 of the first period, they came out stronger Wednesday. Radim Vrbata had the first chance, forcing Lehtonen to make a glove save just 36 seconds into the game before Hansen hit the side of the net a few moments later.Lack was largely left alone for the first period as the Stars only managed five shots, but Tyler Seguin rang a shot off the crossbar before Jamie Benn had a good look from the slot that the Canucks goalie snagged with his glove.Theres still bumps in our road where we know if they get momentum it takes it away so we got to find ways to be better every shift, said Desjardins.Notes: The Canucks have two games left on a four-game homestand including Saturday against the Calgary Flames. ... Dallas has two remaining games on its three-game road trip, playing Friday against the Flames. ... Tom Sestito was a scratch for the Canucks. ... The Canucks last home win against Dallas came on March 30, 2012. 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