Major League Baseball

Ben Verlander's 'Flippin' Bats' welcomes Baltimore Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini

4 days ago

Everyone loves a comeback.

Baltimore Orioles first baseman and outfielder Trey Mancini joined Ben Verlander on his podcast, "Flippin' Bats," following MLB's opening weekend.

Coming off a dominant series win over the Boston Red Sox, Mancini discussed his time in the minors, his inspiring journey to become cancer-free and the toughest pitcher he has faced.

Mancini made his major-league debut in a big way in 2016, homering in his second at-bat against Boston's Eduardo Rodríguez and becoming just the fourth Orioles player to hit a home run for his first major-league hit.

"I was definitely ready for a fastball, and I barely even remember," Mancini said. "It was so surreal. ... there's a lot of tough times that go along with it [playing baseball], and it all kind of got wrapped up into that one moment. It was really cool that it could happen in my first game."

Mancini had a career year in 2019, leading the Orioles in most offensive categories into late April, and he was poised to build on his accomplishments in 2020, but on March 6, he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer.

"It was an awful day. I had found out that my iron levels had come up low in my routine physical that we do every year, and my doctors decided to follow up on that and get it checked out. So they scheduled a colonoscopy for me, and we were expecting to find a stomach ulcer or celiac disease ... the doctor told me he found a tumor in my colon, and he was 99% sure it was cancerous."

Mancini underwent surgery to remove the tumor six days later and started six months of chemotherapy on April 13. In November 2020, Mancini announced that he was cancer-free and planned to play for the Orioles again in 2021.

Preparing to get back onto the diamond was a major milestone in Mancini's life.

"It was definitely the most excited I've been to hit in a cage, I think. Just hitting off a tee in a cage was a huge deal to me that day because there were times in my life where I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to do that again. So I made sure not to take that for granted, and it was really fun. I felt a lot better than I thought I would. It really was a good thing."

Being back at-bat means Mancini has to face some tough pitchers. One of the most difficult to go up against is someone Ben is quite familiar with: the Houston Astros' Justin Verlander.

"Your brother probably has the best curveball that I've seen," Mancini said. "I have a pretty tough time against that one."

The Verlander brothers actually got into some beef over the weekend when Ben tweeted that Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani is his favorite player. 

Ben's sticking to that statement.

"In my opinion, he is the most exciting player that we have seen in decades ... he is my favorite player to watch. He throws over 100 – he hits bombs."

To hear more from Mancini, including about his charity, the Trey Mancini Foundation, check out the entire episode below.

For more from "Flippin' Bats," subscribe on YouTube and follow along on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook! 

Ben Verlander spent five years in the Detroit Tigers organization. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Verly32.

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