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Originally published February 9, 2014 at 9:10 PM | Page modified February 9, 2014 at 9:12 PM

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Ryne Sandberg gets ready for first major-league camp as manager

Younger players attending manager Ryne Sandberg’s first camp as a big-league manager might find they are in the land of opportunity.


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Baseball

Sandberg prepares for first campas a major-league manager

It has long been the winter retreat for the Philadelphia Phillies and their faithful, a place to get warm and to dream with the sand, surf and palm trees serving as the perfect picturesque backdrop.

And so the Phillies will gather in Clearwater, Fla., again this week for the start of another spring training. Pitchers and catchers will work out for the first time Thursday and there are sure to be plenty of early arriving position players, too.

Hope and faith probably will not be accompanying as many snowbirds as usual this February and March. Doubt and despair trumped them as the dominant duo during last year’s limp to 89 losses.

Younger players attending manager Ryne Sandberg’s first camp as a big-league manager might find they are in the land of opportunity.

Sure, the core four from the greatest run of success in franchise history is still around, but there is no reason for Spokane native Sandberg — a Hall of Fame player who had all but one of his 2,386 hits for the Chicago Cubs — to have the same loyalty former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel showed in those players. There is no World Series ring in Sandberg’s safe-deposit box that came compliments of Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz.

Young Phillies who will have a chance to make an impact include first basemen Maikel Franco, 21, and Darin Ruf, 27; outfielders Ben Revere, 25, and Cesar Hernandez, 23; third baseman Cody Asche, 23, and shortstop Freddy Galvis, 24.

The 54-year-old Sandberg, at the very least, seems likely to get some of his young reserves in the starting lineup on days he wants to rest Utley, Rollins and Howard. He has managed the team, sometimes with an interim tag, since mid-August.

Sandberg “may be furnished with more opportunity to do that than Charlie was,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Some of those younger guys are a little bit older and more experienced now. “Everybody likes some level of stability, but Ryne will try some things. He will have his own ideas about how to put lineups together and it will be interesting to see how he does it.”

Amaro is aware of the fan base’s bubbling negativity.

“If we start winning, our fans will be more engaged,” he said. “Right now, they’re not engaged because we had a really poor year last year.”

Soccer

Fulham ties Manchester United

So often the beneficiary of late goals under former manager Alex Ferguson, it seems everything is being turned on its head at Manchester United under manager David Moyes after his team’s latest stumble in the English Premier League.

Deep into stoppage time, Darren Bent scored a goal for visiting Fulham for a 2-2 draw for the league’s worst team.

Manchester United, which won last season’s title by 11 points under Ferguson in May, is in seventh place — 15 points behind leader Chelsea.

Tennis

Italy defeats U.S. in Fed Cup

Karin Knapp won her second match of the weekend and gave Italy a 3-1 victory over the United States in their best-of-five Fed Cup first-round match in Cleveland.

Knapp defeated American Alison Riske 6-3, 7-5 to guarantee the Italians would advance to face either Spain or the Czech Republic in the World Group semifinals in April.

Knapp held a 5-2 lead in the second set, only to let Riske tie it at 5-all. But Knapp regained the momentum and closed out the match.

“I got a little bit nervous. I got a little bit of emotion,” said Knapp, who defeated Christina McHale 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 on Saturday.

“I said this morning, ‘If we win, we have to jump into the snow.’ ” Knapp said. “So after, we will all put the jacket on, the scarf on and we will jump in the snow.”

Elsewhere

• In men’s tennis, Gael Monfils of France and Marin Cilic of Croatia won singles tournaments in their home countries.

Monfils beat top-seeded Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4 in an all-France final of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier for his fifth career title.

Cilic defeated top-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany 6-3, 6-4 in the Zagreb Indoors.

• Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson, a first-team all-Southeastern Conference selection last season, and Volunteers defensive lineman Danny O’Brien were arrested at a party on alcohol-related charges and resisting arrest, authorities said.

Johnson, 22, was charged with purchasing alcohol for a person under age and resisting arrest. O’Brien, 20, a reserve last season, was charged with criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and underage consumption of alcohol.

Lea, a 5-year-old horse, won the Grade I Donn Handicap by 1½ lengths over 3-2 favorite Will Take Charge at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Lea, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Joel Rosario, ran 11 / 8 miles in a track-record time of 1 minute, 46.86 seconds. He paid $13 to win in the $500,000 race.

John Force, 64, won the Funny Car final at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

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