Mancini, mysteries and minors

Moving past the final game of the season allowed players to take a much-needed break from baseball. But for how long?

It’s going to vary depending on the individual and his circumstances.

“I think it’s important to take some time off,” said Trey Mancini. “I’m going to take a lot of time off from baseball. Not hit. But certainly I don’t sit on the couch for the first few weeks of the offseason, either.”

(Is that frowned upon? Because I intend to set a land speedless record while doing it.)

mancini-rounds-bases-home-run-beard-white-sidebar.jpg“I like to work out and keep in shape. But I think time away is good, and then in the offseason get going around December is usually when I start hitting.” Mancini said.

“I think any adjustments that I want to make is more of like mindset, pitch selection things like that. There’s not really too much I’m looking to do with my swing or anything like that. But there’s always ways to improve and use the offseason to do that.”

Why mess with a swing that allowed Mancini to drive the ball to all fields, with some serious damage done in right and right-center?

Mancini is the Orioles’ finalist for the Hank Aaron Award. Fans can cast their votes at until Wednesday.

* At least two mysteries went unsolved as the Orioles moved into their offseason.

What were the ailments that kept Anthony Santander from playing after going 0-for-7 on Sept. 23? We knew only that there were a couple of them. That he was “pretty banged up” in the words of manager Brandon Hyde.

He also was in a 1-for-23 slump.

Hyde blamed it on Santander trying to play through “some stuff” physically.

“I just think it’s a multitude of things that he has where he’s just really, really sore and hurting a little bit,” Hyde said. “He’s been keeping it from everybody and trying to play as hard as he can.”

The world may never know.

Or we can check back with Santander in spring training.

Also, we were left to guess why Hyde was managing what he described as “a very short bullpen” Sunday in Boston.

Hyde said he had “a bunch of guys who weren’t going to throw.” Shawn Armstrong replaced starter Chandler Shepherd in the sixth inning, let an inherited runner score and loaded the bases with no outs. Evan Phillips did a marvelous job stranding all three runners, but he allowed a run in the seventh - his first of the month - and Dillon Tate was on the mound in the ninth for the weird walk-off hit by Rafael Devers.

Miguel Castro didn’t pitch after Sept. 23 and I don’t recall seeing him warm up during the three-game series at Fenway Park. He was used only once after Sept. 18, when he allowed five earned runs (six total) in the ninth inning against the Blue Jays and took the loss.

* As the Orioles continue to assemble their minor league coaching staffs, one name to keep in mind is former 17th-round draft pick Branden Becker.

Becker, selected by the Orioles in 2015 out of Cajon High School in San Bernadino, Calif., never made it past Single-A Frederick and retired in May after being assigned to short-season Single-A Aberdeen. I’ve heard that he’s likely to stay in the organization in a coaching role.

The expectation is for Becker to serve as a fourth coach at one of the affiliates.

There also could be hires made from outside minor league baseball as the Orioles tap into the data-driven performance training centers.

It’s a whole new world - at least compared to where the organization used to reside.

Today’s question: What’s the first movie that scared you so much, you had to sleep with the lights on?

I’ll go first: “The Birds.” (Though “The Wizard of Oz” had a couple of scenes that freaked me out, like the witch’s face appearing in the crystal ball while Dorothy is talking to her Auntie Em. And those flying monkeys ...)

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