PHILADELPHIA — Ryne Sandberg left on his terms.
An emotional Sandberg resigned as Phillies manager on Friday in his third season as Philadelphia struggles with the worst record in the major leagues.
"In a lot of ways, I'm old school, and I'm very much dissatisfied with the record and not pleased at all with that," Sandberg said. "I think that goes hand in hand with being a manager. So it's been a difficult thing to swallow, but I have thought about it for some time, and we've come to this day. The accumulation of losses was something that I take responsibility for and something that really took a toll on me."
The Phillies lost 5-2 to Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals in their first game without Sandberg. Scherzer retired the first 16 batters before Freddy Galvis doubled on a 1-1 pitch to the right-field wall.
Sandberg quits with a 119-159 career record over parts of three seasons leading Philadelphia. His only full season was in 2014, when the Phillies finished with a 73-89 record.
Third base coach Pete Mackanin took over as interim manager at least through a six-game homestand. He's 53-53 in parts of two seasons with Pittsburgh in 2005 and Cincinnati in 2007.
"This is my third time as an interim manager and it's not fun," Mackanin said. "It's not a pleasant thing to do because you have to make sure you keep the guys pointed in the right direction and at the same time, everybody's feeling a little bit funny. You've got to try to put it behind you as quick as possible and that's not an easy thing to do. A lot of guys really enjoyed playing for Ryno and we enjoyed working for him. It's not a fun day."
The Phillies are expected to hire a new president soon. Signs point toward Andy MacPhail, who led the Minnesota Twins to a pair of World Series titles as general manager in 1987 and 1991. Pat Gillick replaced David Montgomery as team president last August, but the 77-year-old Hall of Fame executive wants to return to a consulting position.
Sandberg sounded like a guy who knew he wasn't going to be part of the future so he departs after the Phillies won two of three at Yankee Stadium this week.
"With some changes at the top looming, I did not want to be in the way of anything happening and progress going forward," Sandberg said. "When it really hit me home, I felt it was better now than later — for myself, for my family, for the organization going forward."
Sandberg choked up while thanking fans for their support. The 55-year-old Sandberg was drafted by the Phillies in 1978, but was traded to the Chicago Cubs where he became a Hall of Fame second baseman.
The Phillies gave Sandberg his first managerial job in the majors in August 2013 after they fired Charlie Manuel, who led them to the 2008 World Series title.
Entering Friday night's game against first-place Washington, the Phillies are 26-48 and trail the Nationals by 14 1/2 games in the NL East.
"Managing a team is very challenging," Sandberg said. "I enjoyed the challenge. I enjoyed coming to the ballpark every day. I had excellent work from my coaching staff. The goal was to get the most out of my players."
Philadelphia had low expectations this season, with little to no chance of contending and big challenges surrounding moving high-priced players like ace Cole Hamels, 2006 NL MVP Ryan Howard, six-time All-Star Chase Utley and star closer Jonathan Papelbon.
"We have a lot of young guys in the lineup every day," Hamels said. "There's a lot of learning lessons and unfortunately you have that. There's going to be a lot of bumps in the road and I think that's kind of what's really happening. Guys are learning and they're taking their licks and we're kind of doing it together."
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. could be next to go once a new president takes over.
"I don't think Ryne should feel that he should shoulder all the blame," Amaro said. "We win and lose as a team. I also take responsibility for the things that are happening on the field."