SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini is coming off a terrific rookie season and he can’t wait to get back into action.
He’ll get that opportunity on Friday afternoon when the Orioles open their Grapefruit League exhibition schedule against the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium.
“It’s definitely exciting,” said Mancini, who will bat second in Buck Showalter’s first preseason lineup. “That’s the biggest part of spring training is playing games, getting reps and getting ready for the season. So, yeah, everybody’s ready to go and excited to see some live pitching again.”
Everybody knew that Mancini was a top hitting prospect when he arrived at spring training last year after making a big first impression at the end of the 2016 season. What the club couldn’t know was how well he would adapt to left field, which was the only major league opening with two high-profile first basemen already on the roster.
He was a quick study, but he said this week that he still has a lot more to learn to be the outfielder he wants to be.
“I want to improve in every area of outfield defense,’’ he said. “That’s one of the most important things and we appreciate it here and that’s something I take a lot of pride in and am trying to improve myself on. Kind of what I’m been working on is getting a really quick first step and taking better angles to the ball.”
He did get to bask in his early success for the first couple months of the offseason.
“I start getting antsy when the new year comes,’’ he said. “When you consider how long the season is, you definitely need a little time away, but once the new year comes, you start itching to get back and I think everybody’s ready for the baseball season at that point.”