Behold the strangest pickoff play you'll ever see

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9325/" data-ylk="slk:Aaron Hicks">Aaron Hicks</a> of the Yankees comes up just a bit short with his slide. Would <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9101/" data-ylk="slk:Tommy Joseph">Tommy Joseph</a> of the Phillies realize it in time? (MLB.TV)
Aaron Hicks of the Yankees comes up just a bit short with his slide. Would Tommy Joseph of the Phillies realize it in time? (MLB.TV)

Spring training is the time and the place for players to shake off the rust and work out the kinks.

With that in mind, it would appear Aaron Hicks of the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph still have some work to do with a little more than one week until opening day.

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On Friday, those two players were involved in one of the strangest pickoff plays you’ll ever see.

It was destined to be a disaster for Hicks, whose belly-flop slide left him embarrassingly short of the base. But it quickly turned into a nightmare for Joseph, simply because he lost track of what was happening.


The play happened in the first inning after Hicks led off with a single. Knowing that Hicks is a stolen base threat, Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson made a casual pickoff attempt just to let Hicks know he was thinking about him. He wasn’t expecting to pick Hicks off, nor was Joseph expecting it to be possible, but the lesson here is to expect the unexpected.

We’re guessing this didn’t sit well with Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, who’s been known to fine players for losing focus or making silly mistakes. Just last weekend Mackanin levied a team-wide one dollar fine when Maikel Franco lost a pop-up in the sun while wearing sunglasses on top of his hat.

Joseph’s mistake would seem to be on par with that one, if not worse.

As for Hicks, the embarrassing slide would have been difficult to live down if not for the outcome. Often times you’ll see a player in that position just lay there and wait to be tagged. He deserves credit for finishing the play and turning the embarrassment around.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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