Ryne Sandberg is not campaigning to become manager of the Chicago Cubs, but the Hall of Famer did say that would be the ideal situation for him.
Sandberg is in his first season managing the Double-A Tennessee Smokies after two seasons managing the Single-A Peoria Chiefs. Both teams are Cubs affiliates.
"I'm doing it for the experience to get to the major leagues," Sandberg said on the "Waddle & Silvy" show on ESPN 1000. "I know that's what I want to do right now; get to the major leagues.
"Obviously, being a Cub and still being with the Cubs, [managing the Cubs] would be the ideal situation for me."
Lou Piniella has one more season left on his contract, but there has been speculation Piniella may retire after this frustrating season. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said he expects Piniella to return.
But if Piniella did walk away, Sandberg believes he'd be ready to manage in the major leagues.
"I think so," he said. "I think this is a key year for me. At Double-A, you do the National League rules with the double switches, and you run a game as if it's a National League game -- if you're playing a National League team. If you're playing an American League team, you do the DH.
"I think it has been a nice growing year for me. And this is my third year doing this in the minor leagues. I just feel comfortable with what I'm doing. I feel confident with it, and I think the bottom line is I'm enjoying myself. I have fun going to the ballpark every day looking to see what I can stir up or make a difference with the guys to pull out a 'W' at the end of he night."
Sandberg didn't say he would be the front-runner if Piniella retires, but he believes he took the right course by going to the minor leagues to learn how to be a manager.
"I just feel like I'm doing what I need to do right now," he said. "I think this is the best thing I can be doing right now. I've worked with the organization. I've enjoyed all the guys we have in the minor leagues.
"If the Cubs like what I'm doing, then maybe I'd be a candidate. But like I tell my players, there are 32 teams out there. We're all here for the same thing, to put a good effort out there and make the most of our time on the field. All of our goals should be to get to the major leagues somewhere."