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03/17/10 2:32 PM ET

Manuel excited for his own Bat Day

Phillies' skipper's signature will grace kids giveaway July 6

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Manager Charlie Manuel carried a bat through the Phillies' clubhouse on Wednesday morning at Bright House Field.

Headed to the cage, Charlie?

"Nah, need a bigger bat than this," he said.

Manuel held the Louisville Slugger the Phillies are giving away to children 14 and under July 6 at Citizens Bank Park. The bat has Manuel's name and signature on it. But that is not the interesting part. The interesting part is that the signature is an exact copy of the one on Manuel's first Louisville contract when he signed with the Twins in 1963.

"I can write better now, can't I?" Manuel joked. "This just goes to show you that when I first came out of high school, I couldn't write. I can write better now."

The Phillies unveiled their 2010 promotional giveaways Wednesday, but Manuel seemed particularly proud of his bat. He had a bobblehead last season and had miniature bats when he played in Japan, but Manuel is a hitting guy, so having his own Bat Day with the Phillies is a big deal.

Manuel used a Louisville S2 when he played in the Majors from 1969-75 with the Twins and Dodgers. It weighed 32 ounces when he first signed. But after he bulked up, he said he used a 34-ounce bat.

"I like this," he said. "I'm really honored."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.