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Mancini 'cherishing' return to the field

Birds star back after treatment for colon cancer
Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 17:26:43-05

Trey Mancini missed baseball so much last year he would simulate at-bats from home.

"I would kind of like stand up in the living room when a game was going on and just kind of do like a dry swing or something," said the Orioles first baseman/outfielder during a Zoom call from O's spring training in Sarasota, Fla.

No air reps are necessary now.

Mancini is back and he is in 100 percent health.

"From every standpoint of the game I really do feel just like I did before."

Before he was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. The 28-year-old was told he had cancer on March 6, 2020. He had surgery to remove it on March 12 and was away from the game all of last season. He finished chemotherapy in late September and began working out for his return to the O’s in late October. On Monday he participated in the team’s first full-squad workout of 2021.

"It felt great," he said. "I made sure to enjoy it and kind of cherish today because there were times, especially when I got diagnosed early on, where I wasn’t totally sure if I’d be playing baseball again."

He is... contributing on the field and in the clubhouse.

"It’s been great to see the guys again and just be back in the locker room. That is what I missed last year," said Mancini.

"I can’t remember a bigger hug that I gave somebody than seeing him for the first time," said O's third baseman Rio Ruiz.

"I know everybody missed him around here big time last year," added Manager Brandon Hyde. "So, to have him on the field, I think it’s uplifting for everybody."

There are no restrictions on Mancini but he doesn't feel like his comeback is complete just yet.

"In my eyes I’d say more opening day. I’d see that as a complete. I mean I’m very proud of where I am right now and I’m extremely happy to be here. But, being in a Major League game, that’s kind of what I always saw as making the comeback in my eyes."

Mancini said the experience from this past year has put a lot in perspective.

"I am hoping to take a lot of that into this year. I really think that I’m going to appreciate - not that I didn’t before - but I really will appreciate being able to play Major League Baseball every single day."

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook