If the 2020 baseball season unfolds later this summer, Trey Mancini doesn’t expect to be part of it.
Making his first comments beyond a tweet since his surgery on March 12 to remove a malignant tumor from his colon, Mancini confirmed that he’s been undergoing chemotherapy treatments since April 13 that will last for six months.
“If baseball returns in 2020, it will probably be without me,” Mancini wrote in The Players’ Tribune.
“I want everybody to know that I’m OK. I know reading everything and seeing that I had a malignant tumor removed from my colon, it’s a lot to absorb - believe me, I know. I’m not really big on social media, but I posted a video on Instagram after my surgery because I wanted people to see that I looked like myself and I was in good spirits.
“And I have no doubt that, even when I’m doing chemo, I can work out and do some things. So, whenever the time comes for me to come back to baseball, I’ll be ready. But I just want to make sure that I am physically fine before I go out there and start trying to perform again at a major league level.”
Mancini has the treatments every two weeks, taking all of the necessary precautions during the pandemic.
“I got my mediport put in on April 6. It’s in my chest, and it’s where they’ll run the drugs into my body during chemotherapy,” he said.
“I’m getting chemo at a hospital in Baltimore, and I have to drive up there alone. Nobody is allowed to come in with me, and that’s completely fine by me. I don’t want anybody else being put at risk - people that are close to me and that I love, and other people in the hospital. You just never know. COVID-19 has spread so quickly. I’m definitely trying to follow all the protocols, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because I don’t want to expose myself to anything, especially before going into chemotherapy.”
Mancini was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer on March 13 following his spring training physical, and after complaining of weakness that he first attributed to growing older. Plummeting iron levels raised concerns and led to an endoscopy and colonoscopy, and news that would change his life.
“The doctors thought that I probably had either celiac disease or a stomach ulcer,” Mancini wrote. “Colon cancer was a remote possibility, but it was my last concern. I was only 27. No way I had that. My dad had had Stage II colon cancer in 2011, but he was 58 then. We just thought I was way too young for me to have it.
“When I went in for an endoscopy and colonoscopy, the doctors told me that they were really expecting to confirm that I had celiac disease, which is found in your small intestine. When the anesthesia put me under, I believed everything was going to be OK.
“And then I woke up.”
Mancini, who turned 28 last month, said the news was “shocking,” but he found comfort in being surrounded by loved ones and receiving such good care from the medical staff. He also mentioned the people who have reached out to him, including Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.
“Really, the support I’ve gotten from everyone has just been unbelievable,” he said. “It’s given me an appreciation for a lot of things that I’ve always had, but that were getting overlooked as I went about my day-to-day life. Going through something like this had really made me understand all my blessings.
“Like the text chain that I’m on with my teammates. We actually have a big team group chat. It’s always been going, but it means even more to me now. I’ve been keeping in touch with them and updating them with everything going on. Those exchanges mean so much to me now. I love those guys.”
Mancini also wrote about the morning that he informed teammates of his diagnosis while standing inside the clubhouse at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota. He returned to Baltimore a couple of days later.
“They knew something was up because I hadn’t played any games that week,” Mancini said. “It was really tough, but I told them the truth and I held it together pretty well. I wanted to stay strong and put on the front that I wasn’t afraid, and that I wasn’t too down or upset.
“Everything was going fine until one of our clubhouse managers, a guy we call ‘Bunny,’ took me by the hands and started praying. He was having a really hard time. He was emotional, and it definitely made me emotional. He was the last person who came up to me in the locker room, and that was when I kind of lost it.”
Mancini placed third in Rookie of the Year voting in the American League in 2017 and slashed .291/.364/.535 last summer with 38 doubles, two triples, 35 home runs and 97 RBIs in 154 games. He was 4-for-14 in spring training before leaving the team.
The entire Mancini article can be read here.