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Sneed exclusive: Is a Ryno reunion in the works?

Ryne Sandberg

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Hey! Hey!

Hmmmm. Is a Ryno reconnection in the offing?

Sneed hears Cubbie great Ryne Sandberg, who just quit as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, had a friendly little lunch with Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts at RPM Steak Tuesday.

Also at the table was Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.

The big question? Is Ryno, a Cubs Hall of Famer, coming back to the Cubbies?

Are the Cubbies, whose legendary ambassador — Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks — died in January, interested in sharing a future with Ryno?

“We just had a friendly little lunch,” Ryno told Sneed via phone Tuesday afternoon.

“I am coming back to Chicago. [Pause.] But I have nothing to give you at this time.”

Nothing?

OPINION

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Sneed is told Sandberg is selling his house in Arizona and plans to move to the North Shore.

“He has kids and grandkids here,” said a Sneed source who is close to Sandberg. “He plans to make Chicago his base and he loves the Cubs. His whole career was practically the Cubs.”

The Cubs are now the sizzling boys of summer: Entering Tuesday’s play, they’re 5 ½ games ahead of the San Francisco Giants for the second wild card spot in the National League playoffs.

The last time the Cubs were in the playoffs was 2008. And it looks like Joe Maddon, who has only been Cubs manager for this season, is tossing the right amount of charcoal on the Cubs’ hot grill.

Sandberg, who lost a strong lobbying effort twice to become Cubs manager, is looking to reconnect with the organization, according to a top Sneed source.

“It was a private meeting and I was not given any details,” said Cubs spokesman Peter Chase.

“Hey, Ryno’s positive energy,” said a Cubs sports insider. “Wouldn’t it be great to see Ryno and Cubs Hall of Famer Andre “The Hawk” Dawson wearing Cubs jerseys again? Wouldn’t it be great to see Ryno back in any organization capacity?”

Stay tuned for the next Cubs dugout installment.

Pew news

Get out the crozier!

• Timing is everything: Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke, who got thwacked by Pope Francis for his repeated insistence pro-choice Catholic politicians should be denied communion, is heading to Lombard this month.

• It’s ironic: News Burke, whose Vatican role was downgraded big time, was heading to the Chicago area — practically comes in tandem with Pope Francis’ latest edict this week that priests can absolve the sin of abortion as long as those seeking forgiveness have a contrite heart.

(Burke is the featured speaker at the annual banquet of Catholic Citizens of Illinois on Sept. 22 at the Carlisle banquet hall.)

Hill swill

Hmmm. Is a Hillary Clinton campaign reality check about to hit?

• Translation: Although Hillary’s advisers claim she is upbeat and engaged behind the scenes while campaigning, those close to her are worried how Hillary will hold up for the long haul.

“She looks exhausted,” said a Hillary source. “And this is only the preliminary stage of her campaign,” the source added. “Somewhere along the line there needs to be a reality check.”

• Translation: How much longer will campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta be calling the Hillary shots?

The Biden beat

Checking the status of Vice President Joe Biden’s decision whether to enter the presidential sweepstakes . . . is like checking the temperature on a patient’s thermometer.

• Translation: Allegorically, at last peek, Biden, who is suffering the loss of his beloved son, Beau — who urged him to run before he died — was back in bed with a fever.

I Spy

Spotted at River North cocktail bar Celeste last Friday was “Empire” actress Kaitlin “Rhonda Lyon” Doubleday.

Sneedlings

Wednesday’s birthdays: Salma Hayek, 49; Lennox Lewis, 50, and Keanu Reeves, 51.

Follow Sneed on Twitter: @Sneedlings