These are strange times for everyone.

It’s especially weird for Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini, who is not playing baseball in the summer for the first time in nearly his entire life.

Mancini is recovering from cancer surgery and getting his final chemotherapy treatments at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Still, he closely follows his teammates who are playing a surreal MLB season without fans and restricted travel.

“It’s the first time since I was about 3 years old that I’m not playing baseball during the year, so it’s definitely a little weird,” Mancini said on a Zoom call with reporters. “I watched the games … and it was great to see it back on TV. It was so good to have live baseball back instead of reruns from way back when, which I like watching, too. I’m really excited to watch the guys tonight and yeah, it’s tough not being there.

“I wish more than anything I could be out there with them, but I’ve definitely got bigger things to worry about right now.”

The manager, coaches and players have rallied behind Mancini, and the Orioles are selling #F16HT t-shirts to benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

The Orioles had initially said on March 7 that Mancini left the team to undergo a “non-baseball medical procedure” without offering any specifics. The club later revealed the tumor was discovered during a colonoscopy. Mancini underwent successful surgery March 12 when MLB shut down all of spring training because of the coronavirus.

Now, he is on the road to recovery.

“I’m feeling good,” Mancini said. “After my infusions, I’ll feel pretty sluggish and not great for a few days, and then I bounce back pretty quickly and have about nine or 10 days of feeling good before I go back. So I’ve gotten really used to kind of the routine of everything that chemo has thrown at me.”

Mancini is a popular player inside and outside of the clubhouse. He’s also a hard-nosed leader who has embraced the Orioles’ rebuilding project.

Mancini has established himself as the face of the franchise and was the Orioles’ MVP last season after leading the team in doubles (38), home runs (35), RBIs (97), extra-base hits (75), total bases (322), OBP (.364), slugging (.535) and OPS (.899).

Mancini also ranked second among AL outfielders in extra-base hits and total bases, third in runs scored, tied for third in hits, fourth in doubles, fifth in multi-hit games, sixth in RBIs, seventh in home runs and eighth in OPS.

Now, he is supporting the team from afar.

“I’m wanting us to win every game out there really badly,” Mancini said. “It’s almost like being a kid again, just watching the games on TV. You want to just get up and start swinging a bat and throwing a ball around because I haven’t really been able to do that too much, so it kind of gives you the itch to go out there and play or even just go to a batting cage and start swinging.

“So yeah, it was really fun to watch and gave me the itch to start picking up the bat again and everything.”

Todd Karpovich

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