Mancini: “I literally feel like myself again”

Reinstating outfielder Trey Mancini from the 60-day injured list over the weekend was a formality. A procedural move. A paper move.

Except it felt like so much more to the guy who received a cancer diagnosis. Who stood in the middle of a spring training clubhouse in front of teammates and shared the devastating news before leaving them.

Mancini is back home in Nashville with girlfriend Sara Perlman, working out and appreciating every second of his life. And that includes the exact moment that he returned to the 40-man roster.

“It definitely carried a little more significance to me,” he said on Wednesday. “I had been on the 60-day for a really long time, so even though it was a formality, obviously the alternative was I was taken off the 40-man, so I was very happy that I was activated for that reason. And after going through what I did, it was just a cool little symbolic step along the way to being back on the field.

“It was a very good feeling to see that.”

Mancini endured chemotherapy treatments over a six-month period, the last on Sept. 21, but he already had been working out to stay in shape. Now he’s able to ramp up his activities at Chadwick’s Fitness & Performance Training in Franklin, Tenn., a popular facility for current and former major league players.

Under non-COVID conditions, Mancini would be making daily stops at Vanderbilt University to remain in his usual offseason routine. A college teammate told Mancini about Chadwick’s, where former Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold also used to go and now lives nearby.

Thumbnail image for Mancini-Hatless-White-ST-sidebar.jpg“It’s been awesome,” Mancini said. “I’m doing everything. I’m like full tilt. I pretty much have been since, I’d say, a week after I finished chemo. My normal recovery time was like five days to a week when I was on chemo, and a week after I felt good enough to get started with my offseason. I’ve been doing full workouts and everything. I’m not really taking it easier, I’m just making sure I’m taking long enough breaks and things like that. But I’m full tilt, doing normal workouts.

“If you name a lift, pretty much I can do it. I don’t really have any restrictions. My oncologist said I should be good and be back to normal. I got my port taken out, so since I got that out and it’s all healed I’m good to go and work out. Cleans, squats, the normal stuff I do in an offseason, I’m doing now. And other functional baseball stuff.

“I’ve been hitting for close to a month at this point. I started hitting in mid-October and I’ve been doing great.”

The waves of encouragement crash into Mancini, who understood that the treatments raised some doubts about whether he could regain his strength and endurance prior to spring training.

He’s never gone through Stage 3 colon cancer, which led to his surgery on March 12. He’s never subjected his body to the kind of punishment required to fight it - the nausea, the loss of appetite and weight, the energy drained from him.

“Luckily I was able to work out some even during chemo,” he said. “Sara and I would do 30-minute workouts on my off-week when I wasn’t having treatments. So I was at least able to maintain some strength and everything there and it really helped me. Whenever I was done with chemo I didn’t really start from the beginning. I was already in relatively good shape, and the last month I’ve been working my butt off and I can definitely tell.

“I literally feel like myself again. No different than I did a year ago.”

That includes finally being able to keep his appetite.

The menu options have expanded. The mere mention of some foods doesn’t turn his complexion green.

“I’ve been eating really well,” he said. “I feel strong and really good.”

Mancini said he’ll likely head down to Sarasota at the beginning of February, as usual, if the Ed Smith Stadium complex stays open.

He has no reason to believe that he’ll be shut down again.

“I’m full go right now, so in another three months I’ll obviously be even more ready to do,” he said.

“I’m not even lying when I say this: If spring training started today, I’d be good to go. I know I had a long layoff of not hitting since before I got diagnosed to October, but it felt like riding a bike. I feel great and I haven’t lost a step.”

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