Tito's trial by pachyderm

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Did you hear the one about Terry Francona and the elephant? The former Red Sox manager, who played for the Reds when Marge Schott owned the team, was talking the other day about a party that Schott threw in which she’d borrowed an elephant from the Cincinnati zoo, for whom she was a major benefactor. Francona recalled riding the elephant.

“If you weren’t good enough to tell her no, you had to ride the elephant,’’ Francona said, as recounted by Paul Hoynes in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Asked how he got up on the elephant, Francona laughed and said, “I can’t even remember.”

John Farrell, who was Francona’s pitching coach for four years and also worked with him when both were in Cleveland, said he hadn’t heard the elephant story before.

“I haven’t heard it but I’m not surprised by it,’’ he said. “Next he’ll tell us he was out shoveling for Schottzie too.’’

Schottzie was Schott’s beloved St. Bernard.