SARASOTA, Fla. — Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter doesn’t believe that left fielder Trey Mancini is going to have a difficult time in his second full season in the major leagues.
“People threw the kitchen sink at him last year,” Showalter said. “It wasn’t like, ‘this year, we’re going to throw him something different.’ They tried everything.”
Mancini had an impressive rookie season. He hit .293 with 24 home runs and 78 RBIs, and made a successful conversion from first base to the outfield, which he had never played professionally.
The 25-year-old finished third in voting for American League Rookie of the Year, and feels he has a lot to prove.
“Every spring training I’ve gone in with the mindset that I’m fighting for a job and I’m not going to change that, no matter what the circumstances,” Mancini said. “I’m kind of like a creature of habit in that regard, so I’m always going to go in trying to compete for a spot.”
Mancini doesn’t have to compete for a spot, but it’s that attitude and maturity that’s impressed Showalter about him. After all, there aren’t many players in the majors who have degrees in political science from Notre Dame.
He soaked up advice from veterans last year, and will encourage young players to seek him out.
“They know that they can come to me if they need anything, need advice,” Mancini said.
Mancini has a huge fan in Showalter, who watches carefully to make sure players don’t get spoiled or complacent.
“It’s fun to watch him hit,” Showalter said. “This guy has come in here like he’s trying to make the club. He’s always trying to improve. He’s fun to watch. I don’t think he’s ever going to get comfortable with success. He’s a driven guy.”
Before last season, Mancini worked with Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson in Southern California. It was a crash course of playing the outfield, and the two worked on it again before this
“The first year was basic and just kind of lay of the land out there,” Mancini said. “Now, it’s a little more getting good jumps and focusing on things like that, which is something I wanted to improve on, so it’s a little more technical, I guess now this year.”
Mancini is one of the younger players in Baltimore’s clubhouse, but he knows the team has many accomplished veterans. He’s hoping to become one of them.
“You look around this locker room and there’s a lot of talent around, so there’s a lot of depth, a lot of experience, a lot of playoff experience, too,” Mancini said. “I feel really good about the guys we’ve brought in and it’s a good feeling, for sure.”
NOTES: Mancini played first base for the first time this spring with Chris Davis out with a sore right elbow. Davis had an MRI on the elbow Saturday and was forecasted to be out three-to-five days. . The Orioles optioned RHPs Stefan Crichton, Michael Kelly and Yefry Ramirez to Triple-A Norfolk and assigned OF Jaycob Brugman and LHP Andrew Faulkner to minor league camp. They have 55 players on the spring training roster.
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