Charlie Manuel run over by tricycle

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Yes, a tricycle — you read that right. Todd Zolecki recounts the accident:

The Houston Astros had a mid-inning tricycle race between two men, who pedaled from the home dugout down the third-base line past the visitors’ dugout down the first-base line. One of the contestants steered his tricycle smack into Manuel, who was seated on the warning track between pitching coach Rich Dubee and catching coach Mick Billmeyer.

Billmeyer and Dubee nearly collapsed from laughing.

The contestant has yet to confirm he wasn’t secretly paid by the Nationals and Braves to take Manuel out.

Manuel jokingly added that his pitching coach displayed cowardice. He said, “Dubee was supposed to stop him there, isn’t he? He’s supposed to save me. He let me get run over.”

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.