Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini finishes his chemotherapy treatments for stage 3 colon cancer Sept. 21, an indication of just how quickly the baseball season that starts Friday will pass.
A season that won’t stretch too long past the end of his treatments is only just beginning. But in the parlance of a 28-year-old battling cancer, being two months from the end of treatment has him “to the point where you start to see the end of the tunnel.”
“You kind of get within two months of finishing, and especially now that baseball is on TV and I’ve been seeing it and that’s all getting cranked up, I’ve definitely been thinking more about being done my chemo regimen and just starting the offseason and getting back, getting ready for next year,” Mancini said on a video call with reporters Friday.
“I definitely have that inspiration right now for sure — not that I didn’t before. But I think it’s heightened now that baseball is coming back and I’m getting closer to the end, just getting back to my normal life like how it was up until March 6 sounds pretty darn good right now.”
Mancini, whose spring training physical revealed low iron levels that necessitated further tests and ultimately led to the cancer diagnosis, had surgery to remove a malignant tumor March 12 and began treatments shortly thereafter.
He’s on a six-month chemotherapy regimen at Johns Hopkins, with treatments every other Monday. Mancini said he has five remaining, and has settled into a groove of experiencing some side effects for the first few days but having nine or 10 days after that where he’s feeling well before the next round of treatments.
All the while, he’s been staying in touch with his teammates and the Orioles’ staff as much as possible, though each side is mindful that the other has more pressing matters to be worrying about. Mancini hops on team Zoom calls when he can to be part of them, and had a long conversation with reliever Richard Bleier this week, he said.
When outfielder Cedric Mullins made the Orioles after a difficult 2019 season that ended with him in Double-A Bowie, Mancini called and shared how happy he was that Mullins made it through that time.
The season returning, though, means Mancini finally has to be faced with what he’s missing, even if he realizes his treatments are more important than the game. While acknowledging it’s tough and weird to not be with his teammates and playing, Mancini said he’s glad to be able to watch live baseball and anticipates he’ll be plenty invested in the Orioles’ fortunes.
“I’m wanting us to win every game out there really badly,” Mancini said. “It’s like being a kid again, just watching games on TV and I want to get up and start swinging a bat, throwing a ball around. I haven’t really been able to do that too much. It kind of gives you the itch to go out there and play or even just go to the batting cage and start swinging.”
Nightly Orioles games will add to what’s been a simple existence for Mancini. He has his treatments and takes long walks around Washington, D.C., where he’s living this summer, but otherwise stays in. He got into English soccer and decided Aston Villa would be his club — before realizing they were in a relegation battle and could drop to the lower league by finishing at the bottom of the table.
When he does go out, he tries to be as safe as possible and wear a mask. Because his treatments compromise his immune system, Mancini has to be careful, though looking at an otherwise healthy-looking professional athlete might not give off warning signs for others to do the same.
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“I’m definitely Team Mask,” Mancini said. “I make sure every time I leave here I’ve got it on, and you never know when you can contract this thing and it’s so easily spread. If you look at me, you don’t really know I’m in the immunocompromised subcategory, but you never know who is.
“I think it’s obviously respectful and it’s not too difficult to put a mask on. I know it’s kind of turned into a big debate, and I don’t think it should have. Definitely all on board for the masks, and just treating everybody with respect and staying socially distant and listening to experts that know what they’re talking about. This could be curbed if everybody follows all the protocols. It’s not really that hard to do.”
Saturday, 1:35 p.m.
O’s starter: RHP Alex Cobb (0-2, 10.95 ERA in 2019)
Sox starter: LHP Marin Perez (10-7, 5.12 ERA in 2019)
TV: MASN Radio: 105.7 FM