Orioles Slugger Trey Mancini Details His Battle with Stage III Colon Cancer

Jesse Pantuosco
April 28, 2020 - 12:26 pm

It’s not clear if baseball will return in 2020, but if it does, Baltimore Orioles slugger Trey Mancini admitted it’s unlikely he’ll be in uniform. The 28-year-old Notre Dame alum, who paced the Orioles in both home runs (35) and RBI (97) last season, announced he’s been battling Stage III colon cancer, an illness that necessitates chemotherapy.

Mancini first noticed symptoms during spring training, feeling lethargic and noticing he was tired just 3-4 swings into batting practice. The corner outfielder/occasional first baseman underwent a colonoscopy after bloodwork from his team physical revealed alarmingly low iron levels. Doctors had hoped Mancini was just suffering from celiac disease or a stomach ulcer, but subsequent testing showed his condition was much more serious.

Mancini had surgery to remove a malignant tumor on March 12, just six days after his initial diagnosis. He began chemotherapy treatments a month later on April 13. While the Florida native is confident he’ll make a full recovery, even in the best-case scenario, Mancini doesn’t anticipate a return in 2020.

“My treatment will take six months—every two weeks for six months. If baseball returns in 2020, it will probably be without me,” Mancini wrote Tuesday in an article published on The Players’ Tribune. “Whenever the time comes for me to come back to baseball, I’ll be ready. But I just want to make sure that I am physically fine before I go out there and start trying to perform again at a major league level.”

Mancini considers himself “lucky” for the outpouring of support he’s received from family, doctors and teammates throughout his illness (he remains active on the Orioles’ group text chain), though the four-year major-league vet admits some days are harder than others. “Don’t get me wrong—I have bad days. I ask, ‘Why me? Why now?’ And that’s when [my girlfriend] Sara’s been really good about kicking me in the rear. But she doesn’t have to do that too often, because I truly know how blessed I really am.”

The coronavirus has also posed complications, requiring Mancini to undergo chemo treatments by himself with friends and family not permitted to see him in the hospital. Mancini’s father battled Stage II colon cancer in 2011, but was obviously much older at the time of his diagnosis (58). Coming off a breakout 2019 and a significant hike in salary (he’ll earn $4.75 million this season), Mancini hadn’t planned for this detour, though he’s been able to keep his chin up by leaning on his two sisters. “She texted me a picture of me playing baseball when I was eight years old,” said Mancini, recalling a text message he received from his sister Katie during a prolonged slump in 2018. “She said, ‘You didn’t come this far to only come this far.’ That really resonated with me.”

An emerging big-league star and arguably Baltimore’s best player, we can’t wait to see a healthy Mancini take his hacks once this illness is behind him.

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