Mancini takes a beating and keeps on playing

MINNEAPOLIS – Trey Mancini stayed in the Orioles lineup this afternoon after Sonny Gray drilled him on the right elbow yesterday with a 92 mph sinker in the fourth inning to load the bases.

The Orioles didn’t score, which also hurt.

“The ulnar nerve, I think it’s called. The funny bone,” Mancini said today.

No one is laughing.

“I’m good enough,” he said. “I’ve missed more games than I would have liked for a whole season already at this point, and if I feel like I can play without it affecting my performance … It hurts, but it’s not like the other one. When I got hit on my hand, I couldn’t close it the next day, so if I feel like I can play without it affecting my performance, I’m going to be in there.

“A little pain never hurt nobody.”

Mancini was hit, flipped his bat to the ground and bent over as the pain radiated through his arm. As if he couldn’t believe it was happening again, tying his total of eight hit-by-pitches from last season in 316 fewer plate appearances.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I actually know Sonny quite well, so it has nothing to do with him or anything like that. But I’ve just gotten crushed this year, and every time I get hit, it’s not like I’m taking it in the meat of the leg or taking it somewhere that’s not a bone. It’s been hands and elbows this year.

“When I get hit, I normally know if it’s going to be a lingering thing or could affect me possibly playing the next day. That’s when it’s a little frustrating, but it’s part of the game. They’re throwing me inside, I know that. Some balls are going to get away from them. But yeah, that’s just what that reaction was.

“And part of it, too, is it hurts. I mean, it freakin’ hurts.”

Manager Brandon Hyde cringes each time a pitch tails into Mancini.

“Trey’s been getting beat up,” he said. “The swing (in Toronto) where it hit him in the hand, and then now, one in the elbow in a sensitive spot. It got a little sore on him as the game went on yesterday, but he said he feels a lot better today.

“That does make me nervous. Anytime any of our players get hit up in that area, you fear the worst. But fortunately, it kind of got him in a spot where he feels like he’s OK today to play.”

Mancini batted in the seventh inning and was replaced in right field, with Ryan McKenna coming off the bench. Mancini is the designated hitter today.

“Partly as a precaution,” Mancini said. “Throwing is certainly more of a challenge than swinging with this, and at that point it wasn’t guaranteed that my spot was going to come up again, and it actually didn’t. Up 3-0 at that point, I feel pretty comfortable saying, defensively, it’s probably more of an advantage to have Mac in the outfield than myself, to say the least.

“That’s where that decision came in was, if I’m a little limited throwing, I already don’t have an elite arm as it is, so to get Mac out there, that was the train of thought was prioritize defense.”

Kyle Bradish threw a bullpen session this morning and could pitch in a simulated game later this week. A decision on whether he needs a rehab start in the minors will come sometime afterward.

The Orioles are playing their 80th game today, almost to the halfway point in the season. They’re sitting on 35 wins, a total they didn’t reach last summer until July 28th in their 100th game.

Walk-off losses in back-to-back games this weekend kept the Orioles from creeping with five of .500.

“I feel like we’ve improved,” Hyde said. “I think our pitching has been really good. For where we’ve been, pitching-wise, until this year, I’m really happy. Look at this road trip, the starts that we’ve gotten. Our bullpen has been amazing for the majority of the half. We’ve had a couple tough ones here the last couple games. Those happen. We haven’t had many of those.

“Lopey (Jorge López) has been unbelievable, (Félix) Bautista, (Joey) Krehbiel, Cionel Pérez, Dillon Tate. Just look at the stat pack, look at the numbers they’re putting up, it’s extremely impressive. Our pitching has allowed us to stay in more games this year, giving us a chance to win.

“I’d like to be on the other side of some of these losses. You look at our road trip, the losses we had, except the one game in Seattle that got away from us a little bit. The game we lost in Chicago, we were right there. We had a 0-0 game in the eighth inning in Seattle that we lost. And the last two we had leads in the ninth and we lost. I’m happy with how competitive we are. I feel like the next step is winning more of those types of games. Our offense, our guys are starting to improve. So, I have mixed emotions about the first half. I’m happy, but I’d also like to win some of these games.”

Here are the starters for the Rangers series at Camden Yards:

Monday: Dean Kremer vs. Dane Dunning
Tuesday: Austin Voth vs. TBA
Wednesday: Spenser Watkins vs. Glenn Otto

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