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Orioles not anxious with ‘what ifs’ as Trey Mancini returns to Camden Yards with Astros

Each individual move Trey Mancini took to his locker in the Houston Astros’ clubhouse at Camden Yards on Thursday felt common but was oh so diverse.

Obtaining off a airplane at BWI Marshall Airport, then heading up Interstate 295 into Baltimore? It was a “drive that I designed 1,000 times likely, for a good deal of unique causes,” Mancini stated several hours just before he faced his former workforce for the 1st time at Camden Yards. He arrived at the Orioles’ house ballpark by using the Astros’ staff bus, fairly than driving himself and parking in the participant lot. Within the tunnel in the stadium’s lower amount, he walked farther towards the 3rd foundation side than he ever had, heading to the visitors’ clubhouse alternatively of the 1 he spent elements of 5 seasons with a specified locker in.

“It’s so acquainted,” Mancini stated, “but you gotta keep in mind that you are here as a visitor now.”

He was welcomed as if it was still house. As Mancini warmed up ahead of the game, the Orioles played a minutelong tribute video clip on the Camden Yards scoreboard that finished with “Thank you, Trey.” A further ovation arrived when he stepped up to bat in the second inning, getting rid of his helmet to accept a lover base that meant as considerably to him as he did to it.

It’s the place he met his fiancee, Sara Perlman. It’s where he fought the phase 3 colon most cancers that kept him out for the 2020 season. It’s where by he was welcomed back again and adored in a 2021 campaign in which he was the sport’s greatest story.

“My relationship with the city transcends baseball,” Mancini claimed, “and it normally will.”

The Orioles traded Mancini, then their longest-tenured player, to the Astros for two pitching prospective customers Aug. 1. Months later on, they visited Houston, permitting Mancini to shake whichever jitters he might have had dealing with the team that drafted him in 2013 and referred to as him up to the majors a few a long time afterwards. He stated his feelings about returning to Camden Yards had been much more excitement than nervousness.

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This 4-game sequence implies tiny, in any other case, to the Astros, who have locked up the American League West to guarantee Mancini’s second career postseason berth. Baltimore, nevertheless, entered Thursday 4 1/2 video games out of a wild-card spot with 14 online games remaining. They were a .500 club when they traded Mancini, a few online games out of a playoff berth many thanks to a 27-16 extend soon after a gradual start, and have absent 26-20 due to the fact, getting into Thursday obtaining misplaced 10 of their past 16 online games.

“I was thrilled to see him get to go to these a excellent group like that and a really profitable corporation,” outfielder Austin Hays stated. “But at the very same time, selfishly, I preferred him to keep on to be my teammate and be a aspect of this business, so it was tough, but it’s all section of it.”

Hays and his teammates, nevertheless, said they haven’t permitted on their own to believe irrespective of whether this period could possibly be likely in different ways had the group held onto Mancini and All-Star closer Jorge López somewhat than buying and selling them in foreseeable future-centered moves by earning no substantial additions to the roster. Following the Mancini deal, executive vice president and standard supervisor Mike Elias cited playoff probabilities in rationalizing the trade, although he has since walked those reviews back. The gamers, nevertheless, have responded by remaining in the race.

“The detail about baseball is there’s a whole lot of what ifs included and a good deal of hindsight in particular features,” outfielder Cedric Mullins stated. “It’s just a make any difference of going out and doing your component at the stop of the day.”

Mancini acknowledged that he’s attempting to “get a minor additional constant at the plate” with Houston, hitting .193/.281/407 given that the trade. But his bat, one that just about built him an All-Star in 2019, would have deepened an Orioles’ lineup that has struggled of late.

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“You in no way know,” infielder Ramón Urías reported. “What if we experienced Trey? We might be better. I do not know. We’re a distinct workforce now, but I believe Trey did a very good career for us.”

The day Mancini was traded featured “a good deal of hugs and tears,” Hays recalled. Outfielder Anthony Santander hugged signed jersey Mancini gave him as an expression of his appreciation for his longtime teammates. Santander explained Thursday he ideas to body the jersey and hold it in his Miami dwelling.

He laughed about how discouraged Mancini would get when he played, reminding him to unwind by indicating “You’re the very best hitter here.” Many thanks to the trade, that is no more time the case, but the bond continues to be.

“At the conclusion of the day, it’s out of our regulate,” Santander mentioned by means of workforce interpreter Brandon Quinones. “We can’t really command that, and ideal now, we feel like we have a definitely excellent probability to even now contend and engage in hard and do a superior career, so that’s all we can do appropriate now.”

Though it took an adjustment for Mancini to find it Thursday, he’s felt welcome in the Astros’ clubhouse. He was thrilled to join a team with Earth Sequence aspirations, but he believes he still left at the rear of an organization that is trending towards the same degree.

“These guys have these kinds of a good proven lifestyle listed here,” Mancini explained. “From the 2nd I bought traded, I felt welcome and portion of the group, and that is just a testomony to every little thing that they’ve built here and what they’ve finished. And it is surely what Baltimore is on their way to carrying out over there, creating a tradition so when fellas get traded, are referred to as up there, that they truly feel welcome and part of the group immediately and it is infectious.

“I’m really happy of what they’ve finished.”

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