After beginning treatment for Stage 3 colon cancer in March, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini completed his final round of chemo in September. Just last week, he was activated to the team's 40-man roster.
That move signified an incredible achievement as spending a majority of 2020 fighting through adversity and beating cancer was his top priority. While Mancini will continue to have check-ins and monitor his health, he's now set his sights on his next goal: returning to the baseball field.
“I’ve been inspired ever since I finished chemo, that was a huge milestone for me, and then all my attention turned back towards baseball," Mancini said on Wednesday.
The first step toward that goal is health, as he is just a couple of months removed from his final treatment. For Mancini, there have been no issues in that department so far.
“Healthwise I’m feeling great," Mancini said. "Feel totally like myself, working out, hitting and just getting ready for Spring Training now.”
Mancini noted that additional tests have shown only positive signs in terms of his health. His bloodwork has looked strong and he's seen no decrease in his coordination or physical abilities, which can sometimes become side effects of the treatment.
As mentioned, the next milestone for the four-year veteran that missed all of the 2020 season is to get to Spring Training. Though the return of baseball is tentatively still around four months away, the work for Mancini begins now.
In a normal season the month of October and the early weeks of November would be rest time. Yet as he strives to make up for lost time, the grind has already begun.
For now, workouts five days a week mainly consist of strength, conditioning and tee work. Overhand toss will be worked in during the coming weeks. More work remains, but his performance and reaction from his body has Mancini feeling confident in his progress to the point where he may even be ahead of schedule. From time-to-time, he even needs to remind himself to slow down.
To him, there is no uncertainty surrounding Spring Training.
“There’s no reason, right now, no reason for me to believe that if Spring Training started tomorrow I wouldn’t be ready to go, because I really would ... At this point I feel really strong and capable of playing Major League Baseball," Mancini said. "I’ll be ready for Spring Training, I really know that.
“When I get there in February I really think everybody will look at me and think that nothing happened if they didn’t know what happened," Mancini said.
Once he does arrive at Spring Training, the next order of business will be his role on the team. Coming off a 2019 season in which he hit .291 with 35 homers and 97 RBI, Mancini will play. But where he plays could vary given that a young, emerging core in Baltimore.
Mancini hasn't had that discussion yet with manager Brandon Hyde, but with his experience at first base and in the outfield, and his team-first attitude, he's fine doing whatever is best for the organization. All he wants is another opportunity to play baseball.
“I’ve said this in my rookie year, I say it now, wherever they want me to play, whatever they want me to do I’ll do it. I never take that for granted, getting to play Major League Baseball every day has been my dream my whole life," Mancini said. "If they want me in the outfield I’ll play outfield, If they want me at first I’ll be there. DH I’ll be there.”
“If they want to try me out at second base I’ll do it. I don’t recommend that but literally, whatever they want, I mean I’m thankful to go out there and perform for the team," Mancini said. And I know I’ll do that.”