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Orioles' Trey Mancini Discusses June Cancer Scare: 'I Was Thinking the Worst'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVOctober 14, 2021

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini said he went through a scare in June after he received carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test results that suggested his colon cancer may have returned.

Mancini, who sat out the 2020 season while undergoing chemotherapy treatments before being declared cancer-free, told Dan Connolly of The Athletic on Thursday subsequent tests showed the cancer cells hadn't returned.

"Me, overthinking it, I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that my CEA was normal for quite a few times, and now it's elevated," he said. "I was thinking the worst. And I couldn't shake that."

The 29-year-old Florida native put together a career year for the O's in 2019. He posted a .291 batting average, .899 OPS and 35 home runs across 154 appearances. His career-best 3.5 WAR ranked in a tie for 56th among all MLB hitters that season, per FanGraphs.

After the one-year hiatus, he returned to a full-time role for Baltimore in 2021. His numbers dipped slightly from the career-high marks in 2019, but he was still a valuable contributor with a .758 OPS and 21 homers in 147 games.

Mancini told Connolly he struggled with the uncertainty between the concerning June 21 results and the July 4 confirmation the cancer hadn't returned, and he wants to share his story for other people who may be going through a similar situation.

"Maybe this can put their minds at ease because there's a number of reasons why this marker can be elevated. And you don't have to spend weeks and weeks with it racing through your head," Mancini said. "Above all, listen to your doctors and health professionals. They know what they're talking about."

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Eight days after being given the all-clear, he was at Coors Field in Colorado to take part in the 2021 Home Run Derby as part of MLB's All-Star festivities.

Mancini defeated the Oakland Athletics' Matt Olson and Rockies' Trevor Story to reach the finals before coming up short against reigning champion Pete Alonso of the New York Mets.

"I've never been on a stage like this before," he told reporters. "And it was just an incredible day, an incredible evening, and I was just so honored to be a part of it and just to be asked. To make it to the finals is something that I think we're going to look back on and really cherish and appreciate."

MLB @MLB

Shoutout, <a href="https://twitter.com/TreyMancini?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TreyMancini</a>. <br><br>An inspiration to us all. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HRDerby?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HRDerby</a> <a href="https://t.co/wpkFfhwtTk">pic.twitter.com/wpkFfhwtTk</a>

Mancini saw his OPS drop 80 points from the first half of the season (.791) to the second half (.711), but the slugger said he was pleased to endure the physical toll of an entire campaign.

"I hate to use the word grind, but I had to grind it out those last couple months, and I did," he told Connolly. "I'm happy that I made it to the end of the season, that I didn't go on the [injured list] one time. It is a big accomplishment."

The Orioles fell well short of the playoffs with a 52-110 record, but Mancini figures to remain a key building block as they continue their rebuilding efforts heading into 2022.

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