Here are some news items from the National League's middle division...
- Ryne Sandberg has turned down an offer to return as the Cubs' Triple-A manager, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat, and Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that Sandberg won't be with the organization at all in 2011. Sandberg was heavily rumored to take over managing the Cubs after Lou Piniella's retirement, but Chicago instead gave the job to interim manager Mike Quade.
- A roundtable of Cardinals writers collected by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discussed the Colby Rasmus trade rumors and the majority don't like the idea. Comments range from "there would be no logic behind a trade" to "trading Rasmus would be incredibly stupid unless it’s an offer that’s so ridiculously good that it cannot be rejected."
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly discussed the team's manager search and other topics in a chat with fans on MLB.com.
- Steven Jackson, Brandon Moss and Justin Thomas can all become minor league free agents after being outrighted to Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Sean Gallagher, who was also outrighted, can declare free agency on Saturday but Langosch says the Pirates will try to sign the pitcher to a contract before then.
- Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that the Reds want to work out a contract extension with Bronson Arroyo before Opening Day. "I don't want to go into the season negotiating," Sheldon said. "We'll try to [get it done] before the start of the season."
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times praises Milwaukee's hire of Ron Roenicke as manager.
- Former Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson has interviewed for the hitting coach job in Houston, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
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