Trey Mancini’s comeback story is headed to the national stage.
The Orioles first baseman will compete in this year’s Home Run Derby on July 12 as part of the All-Star festivities at Colorado’s Coors Field, he announced on Twitter on Tuesday. Mancini, who missed all of the 2020 season undergoing chemotherapy treatments for stage 3 colon cancer, would be the third confirmed participant in this year’s contest, along with Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani and reigning champion Pete Alonso of the New York Mets.
Mancini leads the Orioles with 14 home runs but ranks among the best stories in baseball regardless of his performance. On the same day the coronavirus pandemic delayed spring training and the start of the 2020 season, Mancini underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Although he was absent from the field for all of the campaign, he was consistently on the Orioles’ minds, with the team rallying behind the slogan #F16HT featuring Mancini’s jersey number.
The 29-year-old was voted Most Valuable Oriole in 2019, a season in which he hit 35 home runs with 97 RBIs and put up an .899 OPS. Among the largest All-Star snubs that year, Mancini has a tough task cracking the American League squad this year given the depth at first base and designated hitter. Each team is required to have one All-Star, but with Baltimore having the AL’s worst record and Cedric Mullins performing as one of the top outfielders in baseball, it would be tough for two Orioles to squeeze onto the team.
But Mancini’s presence at the Home Run Derby would still allow for his journey to get a moment in the spotlight. Even during his recovery process, he repeatedly said he wants to be an advocate for colon cancer awareness and screening. He has partnered with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance as part of its “Never Too Young” advisory board.
Manager Brandon Hyde said after Saturday’s game that he hadn’t heard about Mancini’s invitation.
“That would be a great experience for Trey,” Hyde said. “If he does have that opportunity, that’s a really cool moment.”
Earlier this week, Mancini told The Baltimore Sun that he would be thrilled to participate in All-Star Week in any fashion.
“It would mean a lot,” Mancini said. “Any other year, I think I’d maybe have a better shot at the game, but AL first base and DH, it’s a pretty incredible group of guys, so I’m not really expecting too much there in that regard. But to be in the conversation is great and especially after last year, it definitely means a lot.”
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The Athletic first reported that Mancini was invited to participate in the event.