By Cliff Corcoran
Charlie Manuel never hit for the cycle as a player, but he was hit by a cycle as a manager on Sunday, a tricycle to be specific. To keep the crowd entertained between innings of their exhibition game against the Phillies in Kissimmee on Sunday, the Astros had two men race around the warning track from dugout to dugout riding tricycles. Because dugouts are overstuffed with players in Spring Training, managers typically sit in chairs on the track, and when this particular Tour de Farce entered the home stretch near the Phillies dugout, one rider ran right over Manuel's toes, causing him to leap up and out of the way.
Manuel blamed pitching coach Rich Dubee for failing to run interference. "Dubee is supposed to stop him there," said Manuel, apparently referring to the PCTP (pitching coach tricycle practice) that dominates the early days of spring training. "He's supposed to save me. He just let me get run over. He said, 'Go ahead, hit him.' He ran over my toes, too, man."
Despite Dubee's negligence, Manuel was unhurt, which means we don't have to add to this year's growing laundry list of bizarre spring training injuries which already includes Elvis Andrus's tattoo sensitivity, Red Sox prospect Bryce Brentz shooting himself in the leg while cleaning his handgun and Michael Taylor missing a week after throwing away his gum.
Hit and Run was unable to find video of tricycle incident itself, but I have uncovered what I believe is footage of one of the contestants warming up prior to the race: