DENVER -- At the start of Spring Training, before the disabled list became the place to find the Rockies' stars, Michael Cuddyer was more than just a fine example of cerebral hitting. His batting practice became team policy.
As the rounds go, specific swings are devoted to specific situations. Move a runner. Drive a guy in. Hit-and-run. Whatever situation comes up in a game, Cuddyer spent his career checking off the list in batting practice. New hitting coach Blake Doyle decided this method was good enough for all, and insisted upon it.
During the Rockies' 10-5 victory over the Reds on Sunday night, Cuddyer came up in the eighth, needing a double for the cycle. But his training had him thinking situation, not history books.
The result was a two-run double for the seventh cycle in franchise history, and the second of Cuddyer's career, making him just the 30th player in history with multiple games of a single, double, triple and homer.
Cuddyer completed the first cycle in the Majors this season, and became the third player in Major League history to accomplish cycles in both leagues. Bob Watson did it with the Astros (1977) and Red Sox (1979), and John Olerud with the Mets (1997) and Mariners (2001).
"That's what hitting is: It's assessing the situation and trying to execute to get that job done," Cuddyer said. "You can't just go up at the Major League level and blindly just swing the bat. You've got to be able to assess what the situation is and do your best to execute that job."
The Rockies, way back at the start of the season, hit quite well with Cuddyer's method. But just about all the stars got hurt.
Cuddyer missed 25 games with a left hamstring strain early, and returned Sunday after missing 60 games with a fractured left shoulder. But in Sunday night's 10-5 victory over the Reds to complete a doubleheader sweep at Coors Field, he demonstrated how systematic practice readies him.
When Cuddyer had the shot at the cycle on Sunday, the Rockies led, 7-5. The situation called for a hit, preferably one that would bring in at least the runner on third.
The double down the left-field line came against Reds left-handed reliever Manny Parra. It was Parra who was pitching for the Brewers when he served up a three-run homer, a ground-rule double and a single to Cuddyer, who was batting for the Twins on May 22, 2009, at the Metrodome. Cuddyer would finish the cycle with a sixth-inning triple off former Rockies reliever Jorge Julio.
On Sunday, Cuddyer said he had to fight thoughts of a cycle when he faced Parra.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't know," he said. "But there were runners in scoring position. When you've got a job in hand, that's what you're focused on. I was focused on getting that runner on third home."
Cuddyer went 1-for-5 in the first game, a 10-9 victory. It was a fatiguing day for Cuddyer, who had played rehab games at Rookie-level Grand Junction and Double-A Tulsa to not "feel foreign."
Cuddyer tripled off Reds starter Dylan Axelrod in the first inning of the second game. Reds right fielder Jay Bruce missed a sliding catch attempt on a line drive, and fleet center fielder Billy Hamilton chased the ball down in right-center. Cuddyer barely beat Hamilton's strong throw.
"He ran for 300 feet," Cuddyer said.
Cuddyer led off the sixth with his sixth homer to left field off of Axelrod. Cuddyer singled in the seventh off of Carlos Contreras, then doubled in two runs during the Rockies' five-run eighth.
Other Rockies cycles were by Dante Bichette against the Rangers on June 10, 1998, Neifi Perez against the Cardinals on July 25, 1998, Todd Helton on June 19, 1999, against the Marlins, Mike Lansing on June 18, 2000, against the D-backs, Troy Tulowitzki on Aug. 10, 2009, against the Cubs, and Carlos Gonzalez on July 31, 2010, against the Cubs.
All seven of the Rockies' cycles, and all five cycles by opposing players, have occurred at Coors Field.
The opposing-team cycles were by the Cardinals' John Mabry on May 18, 1996. the Astros' Craig Biggio in the Rockies' home opener on April 8, 2002, the Giants' Fred Lewis on May 13, 2007, the Giants' Pablo Sandoval on Sept. 15, 2011, and the Mets' Scott Hairston on April 27, 2012.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.