Sandberg family connection between Phillies, Rays

Phils manager's nephew, Jared, skippers Tampa Bay's Triple-A club

Sandberg family connection between Phillies, Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- When Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg looked across the field Sunday at Charlotte Sports Park, he saw a familiar face: His nephew, Jared Sandberg, manager of the Rays' Triple-A Durham Bulls farm team.

The two men chatted after batting practice, posed for pictures and made plans to try to have dinner when the Rays play in Clearwater on Friday.

"It was awesome. He's moving up the ladder. He's done a nice job over there and that's good to see," said Ryne Sandberg.

Said Jared Sandberg: "It was really cool. I've been in the stands when Ryne's been playing or managing, but to be in the opposing dugout was really cool for me and him and the whole family."

Ryne had a Hall of Fame career with the Cubs. Jared, the son of Ryne's older brother, Del, hit 18 homers in his first 102 games after breaking in with the Rays in 2001, but developed a rare disease that caused blind spots in his vision.

"He started to lose track of the baseball, so that called for the early retirement [after the 2007 season]," Ryne said.

Jared immediately became a coach and manager in the Tampa Bay system.

After Ryne retired, he occasionally went to visit Del and they'd catch a series when Jared played in Durham. When he was working his way through the Minors as a manager, he and Jared would sometimes get together when their schedules allowed.

"We got together for Thanksgiving this year in Arizona. I usually see him five or six times a year," Ryne said.

They never managed against each other in the Minors. So if Jared gets his opportunity, it would be a big day in the Sandberg family if they ever faced off against each other in the big leagues.

"I've thought about it, but that's probably a long ways away from my development, from where I'm at, but at some point it would be really cool," he said.

And he had a message for his uncle: "I got his signs," he said with a laugh. "Let him know."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.