Day one of spring training brought baseball fans a feel-good story. Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini made his return to baseball following a year away from the game as he battled stage 3 colon cancer. Mancini, who turns 29 next month, batted second and played first base in the Orioles exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
When Mancini got to the plate, the small crowd in attendance gave him a standing ovation, and then he knocked a single to center field.
Sunday marked Mancini’s first game back with the Orioles since Sept. 29, 2019. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in March of 2020, and later underwent surgery and chemotherapy before being declared cancer-free and receiving the clearance to return to full baseball activities from the Orioles staff.
Mancini missed the 2020 season, but the last time he played, in 2019, he had a breakout season in which he set career-highs in home runs (35) and OPS (.899).
Mancini made his MLB debut in September 2016. In 2017, he finished behind Aaron Judge and Andrew Benintendi in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He hit .293/.338/.488 (120 OPS+) with 26 doubles, 24 home runs and 78 RBI in 147 games that season. Mancini was drafted by the Orioles in the eighth round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Notre Dame. This season, Mancini will likely get most of his reps at first base, but he can also serve as an outfielder and/or designated hitter.