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Orioles’ Trey Mancini ‘aiming higher’ with his swing to elevate his performance amid low team expectations

Orioles OF/1B Trey Mancini is looking forward to a new year and the challenges the team face this coming season.

Trey Mancini, the most established and productive player on the Orioles’ roster, pulled into the player’s parking lot at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Wednesday to report to camp and was directed to a prime parking spot right by the exit.

At age 27 and with a career year behind him, Mancini is the unquestioned focal point of these 2020 Orioles. He hit 35 home runs with an .899 OPS and still carries the belief that there’s more power to tap into.

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His fourth full season in the majors will carry considerably high expectations, and the fact that it’s on a team that has no such collective ambitions isn’t something Mancini is concerning himself with.

“It’s not really anything I think about,” Mancini said. “I think if you have the right attitude and want to help the team win, I say it all the time and I know that’s cliché, but you’ve got to go out there and try to help the team win, do what you can and use your skillset to the best of your ability.

“Hopefully, that can, A, show up as a win for your team that day, and B, I think at the end of the year if you do that, you’ll be happy with how things happen personally. I’ve never been one to set any personal goals numbers-wise. I just try to go out there every day and play as hard as I can. Every time I’m up at the plate, I want to get a hit, so that’s obviously not going to happen. I think that’s the mindset you need to have at this level.”

Mancini’s breakout came in what was otherwise a season without many positives for the rebuilding Orioles. In spring training last year, catcher Jesús Sucre — a former opponent with the Tampa Bay Rays — got to camp, decided Mancini was a nice guy, and told him exactly how the Rays would try to pitch to him.

Mancini got into games and realized it was spot on, and though the season required adjustments, that knowledge of how teams would attack his holes and the continued accentuation of his strengths at the plate led to production even as there was no one around him to protect him in the lineup.

The team has since traded another productive hitter, Jonathan Villar, and longtime starting rotation piece Dylan Bundy. Mancini might benefit from full seasons of Austin Hays and Anthony Santander in the lineup, but he remains the only true power bat on the roster.

His offseason work was geared more toward building on that through his approach than anything else.

“I didn’t do too much with my swing, but I think it’s just the mindset up at the plate and setting your sights a little higher, almost,” Mancini said. “A lot of times, I’d always try to hit a line drive over the second baseman’s head. Now I just kind of raise it a little more, whether you have your eye on the batter’s eye or something like that. Your approach at the plate really dictates a lot of things that really show up in advanced statistics.”

O’s announce minor league hires

The Orioles filled out some minor league staff roles Wednesday, announcing that Nick White is joining the organization as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator, Ethan Stewart will be the newly created player performance facilitator and Anaíma García will be the education coordinator.

Each affiliate’s strength and conditioning coach was also announced, with Trey Wiedman at Norfolk, Jonathan Medici at Bowie, Kevin Mixon back at Frederick, Tim Chiarolanza at Delmarva, Liz Pardo at Aberdeen, Brandon Farish with the GCL Orioles, and Julio Diaz and Andres Tarazona with the DSL Orioles.

Around the horn

>> Seventeen of the Orioles’ 35 pitches threw off mounds on the first day of workouts, with the rest running through fielding drills.

>> Right-hander Hunter Harvey won’t be on a different schedule than any of the other relievers, manager Brandon Hyde said.

>> Right-hander Brady Rodgers was held back from workouts Wednesday because of arm soreness, though he participated in some pitcher-fielding practice.

>> The Orioles will hold their fifth annual SpringFest beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

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