For the fourth time in less than two weeks, Ryne Sandberg felt it necessary to engage one of his players in a private chat regarding a perceived slight against the first-year Phillies manager. He sought Cole Hamels, who pouted when removed from Tuesday's game at 84 pitches and issued a calculated message afterward.
On Wednesday, Sandberg diffused the situation with his talk.
"It was brief," Sandberg said. "It wasn't a big deal."
This one instance was not. The pattern of clubhouse unrest, however, is alarming. Sandberg, before this incident, met with Kyle Kendrick, Domonic Brown, and David Buchanan to mitigate public disagreements. (All of them stemmed from defensible decisions made by Sandberg.) But Hamels is the highest-paid athlete in Philadelphia sports history, and his opinion carries weight with team officials.