SARASOTA, FLORIDA — Orioles star outfielder Trey Mancini left the team Saturday after updating the organization on what manager Brandon Hyde said will require a “non-baseball medical procedure.” A day later, the players he left behind were still coping with what it all meant for someone who is just as much a teammate as a friend.
“It’s a huge loss,” first baseman Chris Davis said. “I think Trey was pretty much our most consistent player last year. You’re not going to replace a guy like that. We have a little bit of time, hopefully. Whatever he needs taken care of can get taken care of, and he can be back soon.”
Pitcher Alex Cobb said, "there’s nobody I know of that’s more determined on the field and just an all-around good person. There’s nobody in the locker room that can’t get along with Trey. He can relate to so many people on so many different levels.
“He’s just so well-rounded,” Cobb continued. "He’s smart, one of the smarter guys that I’ve been around and always fun to be around … always smiling, always nice to everybody, treats everybody with kindness, so to see him go through what he’s going through is very difficult, but gives us all an opportunity to show how much we love him and rally around him.”
Hyde wasn’t able to provide specifics about what was ailing Mancini, who hadn’t played in a game since Monday because of illness and also missed some workouts earlier in spring for health reasons. Hyde said Saturday that the team was respecting Mancini’s privacy on the matter, though he mentioned having further tests done.
Early Sunday evening, Mancini tweeted that, “Once there is more clarity, I will be sure to keep everyone updated over the next few days.”
“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone for their kind sentiments and well wishes,” he wrote. "It further drives home the fact that I am surrounded by the best family, friends/teammates, and fans that I could ever ask for.
“I look forward to a healthy recovery and being back on the field soon!”
In the interim, his teammates are balancing their concern for him with the baseball considerations. It’s “concerning,” Davis said, noting the proximity to the season.
“Obviously, you feel for him,” Davis said. “You know how much hard work he put in not only here, but this offseason to get ready to have another good year. Any time you have a little setback like that, it’s disappointing.”
Mancini was named Most Valuable Oriole in 2019 for his breakout season, hitting 35 home runs with an .899 OPS. He’s a lifetime .276 hitter who has, in his major league career, moved from first base to left field and then right field to accommodate teammates. He’s also stepped up as an off-field presence in Baltimore, taking over Adam Jones’ Purple Tailgate fundraiser to support his friend and local sports superfan Mo Gaba in the winter.
Teammates seemed to be taking that full picture into consideration when speaking about his situation.
“He’s going to go through a lot this next week, two weeks, mostly off-the-field emotional stuff,” Cobb said. “I think he’s going to grow from all of it. Grow closer to his family, his loved ones, appreciate certain things in life we just all take for granted each and every day. And, when things like this happen, you get a new perspective of life, and I think that’s what’s going to go on here and I think it’s going to carry onto the baseball field as well and he’s going to realize what an opportunity he has to put that uniform back on.”
Outfielder Austin Hays, whose spring locker is near Mancini’s and who was slated to start alongside him in the outfield come Opening Day, said it was a jolt to everyone in the clubhouse.
“He’s our leader and someone who we see as almost invincible, so to speak,” Hays said. “He’s always here. He’s always working hard. He doesn’t miss very many games. So when something like that happens, especially to someone like Trey, who’s our leader, it just puts you in check and gives you a little different perspective that things happen quick, so it’s important to enjoy our time here with each other and enjoy our time in the game, because you just never know.”
Cobb added: “There are certain people that you know, without a doubt, are going to beat what they’re going through and come back stronger. And Trey’s probably the most competitive player I’ve ever been around and I know when he gets all this taken care of, he’s going to take the needed rest, recovery and come back more determined and stronger than ever.”
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Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.