One day after Lou Piniella announced he would retire as Chicago Cubs manager following this season, Ryne Sandberg made sure there was no ambiguity about his desire and confidence to replace Piniella next year.
"I am ready," Sandberg said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I sure am."
Sandberg, who forged his Hall of Fame career as a second baseman with the Cubs, is in his fourth season managing in the Cubs' organization. He currently has Triple-A Iowa in first place.
"[After] four years of managing at the minor league level, I'm ready for a major league job, and I'm ready to win," Sandberg said. "The reason I went this route was to manage, not to coach.
"There is a lot to managing, and with almost four years under my belt, I believe I'm ready. I'm not interested in on-the-job learning or on-the-job training. At this point, I'm interested in winning ballgames at the major league level."
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Tuesday that Sandberg will be considered, but Sandberg would not say he expects to get the job.
"I don't go that far," he said. "I understand there's a process. I wouldn't say I would expect it, but I sure would like to be considered and hope that's the case.
"Things have gone very well here in the minor leagues. We have a good minor league system, as we can see with the younger players coming up. I believe I know these players as well as anybody, I've been around them, I've coached them, they're moving up the ranks. There are guys here at Triple-A and Double-A knocking on the door to the big leagues. I believe I know the system very well. It's been a great experience, and I'm ready for that next step."
Sandberg said he was caught a little by surprise by the news Tuesday.
"It hit here [with the Iowa Cubs] like a wildfire," he said. "It caught me a little bit by surprise.
"Lou's been in this game a long time. He's done a lot of things. He's done everything in baseball you can imagine, and he's entitled to retire if he thinks that's what he wants to do. There was a lot of attention here, and it was kind of interesting."
Sandberg recently met with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, who was making the rounds of his minor league affiliates. But Sandberg said the subject of managing the big league team never was broached.
"It was nothing about myself," he said. "It's his first trip around the minor leagues, and I understand he's the first Cubs owner to do that and see how everything is going.
"It was more a trip like that to gain knowledge on how the minor leagues work. It was a great visit, and it was good for the players to see him around."