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Orioles' Trey Mancini making first start at leadoff against Reds

CINCINNATI — In a season of firsts for Trey Mancini, the Orioles rookie will experience another one Wednesday night against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Mancini, who is starting in left field, will make his first career start in the leadoff spot against Reds rookie left-hander Amir Garrett, who has posted a 1.42 ERA and .163 opposing batting average in his first two major league starts.

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The move is a result of the Orioles playing in a National League ballpark. They are without a designated hitter, but it also allows the team to keep Craig Gentry on the bench as a late-inning defensive and base-running weapon.

"As opposed to who?" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said when asked about Mancini in the leadoff spot. "... I think Trey needs to play. … We'll try tonight and see how it works. We know it's probably a one-night thing. We've just got to get out of the National League and we don't really have a lot of options."

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Mancini said he was told he was leading off by bench coach John Russell while shagging fly balls in early batting practice Wednesday.

"I didn't know if I heard him correctly," Mancini said. "He asked me if I hit leadoff before and I told him, 'No.' I thought he was just randomly asking me. Then he was insinuating that I was hitting leadoff tonight and I said, 'Oh, OK.' That's definitely something new that's never happened on any level before."

Mancini has never hit higher than fifth in his 13 major league games, and he said he has never batted leadoff even dating to his Little League days.

"If you saw a picture of me when I was 10 years old, you would say that kid's not a leadoff hitter," Mancini said. "I was a pretty hefty youngster there, so no, I never hit leadoff."

Mancini is hitting .348/.400/.913 with four homers and nine RBIs this season, with all four of his homers coming in his past three starts.

He will be the fourth different leadoff hitter the Orioles have used this season through 13 games. Joey Rickard -- on the disabled list with a sprained finger -- and Gentry have shared leadoff duties against left-handed pitching.

"You've just got to treat it like any other at-bat pretty much," Mancini said. "It's something I've never done before, but I'm not going to try to change anything. It's just that I'm coming up earlier than I normally would have is how I'm treating it."

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