SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are playing their 17th exhibition game later this afternoon, forced to remain focused on preparing for the 2020 season and the various competitions that will determine how the 26-man roster is constructed.
They understand the business side of baseball, but their concerns for a teammate and friend keep tugging hard at their emotions.
Trey Mancini isn’t in the lineup again today and no longer is at the facility. He’s left the team to undergo a non-baseball medical procedure this week, the details kept private but worrying individuals throughout the organization.
There isn’t much they can do except offer their support.
“The only concern is right now for his health and his family. Zero baseball-related concern,” said pitcher Alex Cobb.
“I just know that being around Trey, there’s nobody that is a better person in the locker room. He’s able to be friends with whatever type of person, background of a teammate he has. He’s always there to talk to and always brings such an amazing perspective to everything that you have conversations about.
“He just loves everybody. Whether it’s a random fan in the stands or clubhouse staff or the guy hitting behind him, he’s got the same relationship with everybody. He treats everybody so well, so to see him have to go through what he’s going through, it’s heartbreaking, but it gives us all an opportunity to show how much we love him and rally around him and be there for him during this.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, the competitor that he is, that he’s going to get through this with no problem. It’s going to be difficult, but he’s going to get through this and he’s going to come back stronger, and with definitely a new perspective on life and an appreciation of the game that he probably didn’t have before. I’m eager to see that take place. I’m eager to see him just power through this and come back, and I don’t envision him missing a step on the field, because he’s just the most naturally gifted, determined player that I’ve ever been around.”
Mancini hasn’t played since Monday, with the assumption made that flu-like symptoms were responsible for his absence. He’s been ill for much of camp. But the upcoming medical procedure leads to speculation that he’s dealing with a more serious health issue.
“Obviously, anytime that any teammate misses time away from the team, it’s concerning, but I think it’s super-early,” said first baseman Chris Davis. “Obviously, the season is fast approaching, but he felt like he needed to take care of it beforehand and we support him in anything that he does.”
Mancini could begin the season on the injured list depending on the exact nature of the procedure, what’s found and the recovery period.
“It’s a huge loss,” Davis said. “I think Trey was pretty much our most consistent player last year and you’re not going to replace a guy like that. We have a little bit of time. Hopefully whatever he needs to take care of, he can get taken care of and he’ll be back soon.
“It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing and obviously you feel for him. You know how much hard work he put in, not only here but in the offseason to get ready to have another good year. And anytime you have a little setback like that, it’s disappointing.”
Left-hander John Means isn’t listed, which indicates that he’s throwing another simulated game.
Players brought over from minor league camp include pitchers David Lebron, Jay Flaa, Brian Gonzalez and Luis Ortiz, infielder Adam Hall, catcher Maverick Handley, and outfielders Zach Jarrett and Kyle Stowers.