Astros’ Mancini receives warm welcome back in Baltimore

Trey Mancini (26) of the Houston Astros waves to the crowd during a second inning at bat against the Baltimore Orioles at a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 in Baltimore.  (AP Photo/Tommy Gilligan)

Trey Mancini (26) of the Houston Astros waves to the crowd during a second inning at bat against the Baltimore Orioles at a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Tommy Gilligan)

PA

Even before he arrived at Camden Yards as a member of the road crew, this visit was already different for Trey Mancini.

“I took the bus for the first time here,” he said. “I was dropped off here, rather than parking in the parking lot.”

Mancini played in Baltimore Thursday night for the first time since the Orioles traded him to the Houston Astros a day before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Mancini received a standing ovation in the second inning when he first came to home plate and then was knocked out.

“The fans and I have such a great relationship here, and they will always be a special part of my baseball experience,” Mancini said before the game. “So I’m really looking forward to it.”

The warm reaction from fans was no surprise. Mancini played for the Orioles from 2016 until August. When he missed all of 2020 following a colon cancer diagnosis, then came back and won Homecoming Player of the Year honors in 2021, it was one of the heartwarming stories of the baseball.

“It was my first time dealing with someone being told they had cancer in my office, with relatives there and loved ones, and listening to the doctors talk, and it was a day I will never forget,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. . “Honestly, I’ve learned so much from him during this time – someone who’s been through this insane adversity. A young man, with this cancer which is so rare for someone his age, and dealing with it as he does. did was so inspiring.

The last time Mancini hit Camden Yards as the Oriole was on July 28. The fans gave him a big ovation, just in case he was traded before the team’s next home game, and he hit a home run inside the park.

Baltimore stayed in the playoff race even without Mancini, though the Orioles are running out of time. They entered Thursday four games behind Seattle for the last wildcard in the American League.

Mancini and the Astros have already clinched the AL West title, setting it up to play in the playoffs for the first time. He made his major league debut in 2016 – the last time Baltimore qualified – but only played five games for the Orioles that year and was not a participant when they lost to Toronto in the jokers game.

Since then, Mancini has hit more than 20 homers each season he played for Baltimore until he was traded this year. Thursday, he was back, but in the visitors’ club this time.

“I didn’t really know where anything was in the locker room, where the kitchen was, anything like that,” he said. “So it was a bit strange to be in such a familiar place but to be so unfamiliar with part of it.”

Before the match started, Mancini received a brief tribute on the scoreboard and the fans gave him a standing ovation. He took off his cap and clapped his hands in response. Then came the long reception before his first at bat.

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Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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Naomi C. Amerson