Given the chance for a reset - a few days out of the starting lineup - like we’ve seen Orioles manager Buck Showalter use recently with Chris Davis and Jonathan Schoop, Trey Mancini said he would rather not do that.
With his average down to .220 and in a slump that has seen him go 1-for-21 over the last nine games, Mancini is back in the lineup tonight, batting eighth at first base against Philadelphia. Mancini didn’t start two of the last three games. But that is enough, he said.
In 88 games, he’s batting .220/.296/.362 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs. Last season, when he finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting, he hit .293/.338/.488.
The season-long search to get his bat going has also found Mancini taking his struggles with him away from the ballpark - and they are really weighing on him, he said. He admitted that in an interview this afternoon and few players in the clubhouse have more of Showalter calls “want-to.” But it’s been getting in the way. He has a mechanical adjustment he is trying to get to take hold and feels that could be a big plus.
But for now, he wants at-bats, not more time on the bench.
“No, if I have the option to play, I’m going to go out there,” he said this afternoon. “I’ve never been one to be a fan of even one game off. I always want to be out there, but sometimes it’s a good thing. And Buck knows that better than anyone. He said I could (take another day off). But if I have the chance to be in there, every day is another opportunity to turn this around.”
But as he tries to make some physical adjustments, the strain of this slump has weighed on him and all that want-to is getting in his way at this point.
“That is a fair assessment,” he said. “I care about this more than anything in the world, almost to a fault. To whenever I leave the field a lot of times, I’m thinking about it a lot and carrying it with me everywhere I go. I am trying to get better in that aspect. I’ve never gone through anything like this and I’m having a tough time mentally how to figure out to best handle it. Because what I thought was a slump before has been totally redefined.
“This has been extremely, extremely difficult. Also from a team aspect. If you had told me earlier this year about a worst-case scenario, I would not have thought on a personal level or a team level that this year would have gone like this. But the beauty of it is we still have a lot of games left. You can look in the mirror and feel sorry for yourself or you can get up and finally make a change. Stop worrying about what your numbers are and try to salvage this season here.”
Along those lines, Mancini is working to stay back on the ball and not have too much weight on his front side at the point when bat meets ball.
“Getting back to staying on my back side,” he said. “We have really been looking at video lately and even from early on this year. I was hitting the ball great and then I kind of lost it there and all my weight has been on my front side, before I’m even making contact, and that is why I’m hitting a lot of ground balls, even on breaking balls. I don’t really have anything behind it. I need to keep my weight back and stay through the ball. I try to take as many reps as I can in the cage (in making that adjustment) because once you get in the game, you don’t want to be thinking about that. It takes time to translate.
“You have to trust your abilities and I know what I can do. I love this city. I love everything about Baltimore. It’s the only organization I’ve known and I hope I play here for a long time. But I know I’ve got to step it up and play like the player that I am.”