Mancini on pushing for roster spot, Britton on staying healthy

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Trey Mancini is back in the lineup here today for the Orioles, batting fifth and playing first base against the Red Sox. He is having a spring, just as he had hoped. He’s hitting well and wants to force the Orioles to make a hard decision on him when mapping out their opening day roster.

He’s doing all he can to stick and force their hand.

“Yeah, I mean, I’d say so, and that is what I sought to do,” he said this morning. “I knew if it became a tough decision toward the end of camp that I would have done well and done my job of what I wanted to do here.”

Mancini continues to rake throughout Florida. He’s batting .326/.383/.581 with five doubles, two homers, eight RBIs and a .964 OPS.

He likes where his swing is right now and has worked on his hitting mechanics in camp.

Trey-Mancini-high-fives-white-sidebar.jpg“Just staying consistent with every single pitch,” he said. “I’ve really been trying to get ready early when I load back. It helps me see the ball better and I’ve pretty much been focusing on that. Nothing really during the swing, per se. That just helps my swing stay true and consistent by getting back and getting loaded slowly and early.”

Mancini seems to be handling being on the roster bubble quite well. If he is feeling any pressure, you can’t tell. He homered on Wednesday and had an RBI double yesterday against Detroit.

“You can’t put too much pressure on yourself in this situation and I’ve learned that over my entire career,” he said. “But especially the last few years, I know bringing too many negative thoughts or putting pressure on yourself will never result in a good thing. So I’ve just been trying to take it day by day and look up at the end and hopefully will have done really well.”

Mancini seems to fit in the clubhouse almost like a veteran.

“Yeah and that helps,” he said. “Last year, being part of major league spring training and then getting called up at the end of the season, you really get to know the guys better. I feel part of the team and it’s been a really great month and a half here so far.”

He figures to be on the major league roster at some point this season and maybe for all of the season. In a few days, he’ll know if he gets to run down the orange carpet on opening day. But he’s not even looking that far ahead right now.

“Just keeping my eye on what is in front of me and keep doing what I’ve been doing here,” Mancini said. “Hopefully, at the end, it’s a good result and we’ll see what happens.”

Meanwhile, O’s closer Zach Britton knows he will be on the opening day roster. He just wants to be healthy when the time comes, and in that regard, he is doing just fine. The left side soreness that delayed his appearance in spring games is currently in his rear-view mirror. He gave up two runs in his first outing on March 14 versus Tampa Bay. But three days later against Pittsburgh, he threw a scoreless inning. Today, he throws an inning in a minor league game with Caleb Joseph expected to catch him.

“The second game was a lot better than the first one,” he said. “That is a good sign and I feel really good. I’ll throw in a minor league game today at Twin Lakes and then, I think, four more outings or so with going back-to-back once in there.

“I feel really good. No more symptoms of that. Nothing has creeped back. Now I just can focus on getting ready for the season. I’m pretty close, as a reliever now it only takes a few innings.”

Britton should finish this camp with about as many innings as he normally would get. He likely will not throw a two-inning outing. Last year, he did that once during March.

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