Showalter pregame on Mancini's struggles, Memorial Day and more

Manager Buck Showalter has dropped Trey Mancini from first to sixth in the batting order for today's series opener with the Washington Nationals. Mancini went 1-for-13 in the Tampa Bay series and his average has dropped to .240, which is its lowest point since April 8.

"Give him a little blow up there," Showalter said. "He's going through an uncharacteristic period. Trey's one of those guys that always seems like if he doesn't swing the bat well on a given night, it doesn't carry over much. He's got to trust himself. He's one of our better hitters and he will be again."

Mancini has had 88 percent of his plate appearances batting first this year and he's yet to hit sixth in 2018. Over his past 12 games, he is batting .128 (6-for-47) with one homer and one RBI.

"He has good days and bad days with his knee," he said. "I've tried to get him off (it) for a couple of days DHing. First base is a little less (stressful), but probably not a whole lot. You know, he's hit some balls hard. It's kind of like a snowball thing - when he does hit a ball hard, they make a great play on him. Trey is too good a hitter and too good a worker. When you see guy that has been a good a performer like him go through a period like this ... but Trey will figure it out. He's real strong mentally."

Showalter said he would actually prefer that Mancini not bat first and said so during the spring.

"I'd rather not, still wouldn't. Rather not. Kind of by necessity," Showalter said.

Mark Trumbo returns to the Orioles lineup today, batting seventh as the designated hitter. Showalter said Trumbo could have pinch-hit Sunday. Trumbo missed five games with right knee soreness.

Mullins-Batting-Bowie-Sidebar.jpgShowalter threw some props today to Double-A Bowie outfielder Cedric Mullins, a switch-hitter who is batting .308 versus lefty pitching and .322 against right-handers.

"We had talked to Cedric in the spring about his right-handed swing," Showalter said. "He's hitting over .300 right-handed. It is good to see a guy attack something. That is hard to do when you are not seeing that much left-handed pitching, to work on it."

Mullins went 9-for-14 in the three games over the weekend. He's batting .427 (32-for-75) over his past 18 games. For the year, Mullins is batting .319/.368/.521 with 12 doubles, four triple, six homers and 28 RBIs.

Showalter had a touching reflection today on the Memorial Day holiday. He spoke at length about what today means to him as he remembered his late father, who served in the military. He had several uncles in the service, as well.

"They all left and joined within two or three days of each other, different parts of the armed forces," Showalter said. "And all made it back three years later within three hours of each other. Unbelievable story. I wish I could go back and talk to him more about it. But that generation didn't talk about it. And some of the horrific things that he saw over there, I probably wouldn't have talked about it either. It is just something you did - the country needs you to do it and you did it. You knew the risks and so did the parents. I can't imagine the pain of losing a son or daughter over there.

"He left me a book - my three sisters and me - the last Christmas of his life called "A Soldier's Story" by Omar Bradley. I didn't think a whole lot of it. About a month after he passed, I opened it up and looked through it. He had written all through it. There were maps in there of where he had been, his journeys of the three and a half years he had spent. I went through his trunk and found a Bronze Star in there. I had to work to find out why he got it.

"It is one of those things that no one ever wants to see happen again. That is what Dad really said. By being through it you would do everything possible for it to never happen again. He talked about the morning of the D-Day invasion, there were three waves. I couldn't imagine being in those boats, knowing what was waiting for you. I went to Normandy. The films don't do it justice. Going to the cemetery there in Normandy was one of the most moving experiences of my life. Quite an education."

Minors note: The Orioles have promoted lefty pitcher Zac Lowther from Single-A Delmarva to Single-A Frederick. In six starts with the Shorebirds, Lowther was 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA. Over 31 innings he walked nine and fanned 51 batters.

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