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Can Trey Mancini Find A Way To Make The Orioles?

March 8, 2017
SARASOTA, Fla. -- At the end of last season, the Orioles weren't sure outfielder/designated hitter Mark Trumbo would return, and they saw enough from Trey Mancini in September to think he could be an effective designated hitter.
 
Of course, Mancini's best position, first base, was accounted for by Chris Davis, and DH looked like the best option.
 
But Trumbo was re-signed, and late in the offseason, the Orioles signed several veteran outfielders who are contending for a roster spot.
 
In 10 games, Mancini is batting .333 (7-for-21) with four RBIs. As well as he's hit this spring, he still could be the odd man out for the Orioles.
 
"I definitely know that that's the case, and it's a little more uphill of a battle than I thought it would be at the start of the offseason, maybe," Mancini said. "With all that said, it's completely out of my control. I still think there's a spot or two open here, and I'm trying to be the guy that gets it. I come here every day, try to put my head down and hopefully that can happen at the end of spring."

Mancini was promoted unexpectedly last September, after Steve Pearce was declared out for the rest of the season, and he impressed, hitting .357 in five games with three home runs and five RBIs.
 
Mancini's brief time with the Orioles was a big aid.
 
"It helped tremendously. It gives you confidence," Mancini said. "In spring training, it's a time to get ready for the season, but it's also a very competitive environment, and you also want to do well. Playing in major league games and being in that situation at that level, helps once you get to spring training."
 
Last season, Mancini, who led the Eastern League in batting in 2015 while with Double-A Bowie, hit a combined .282 with 20 home runs and 68 RBIs for Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. 
 
He's happy with how his spring is going.
 
"I feel good. More than anything, I've just really tried to focus on having a consistent approach, a process I'd say before the pitch gets there," Mancini said. "Sometimes I tend to get away from that and get a little jumpy, and I've just really tried to get started early and slow as far as my trigger goes. That's pretty much what's been working for me, and that's helping me see pitches better. I've really been focusing on that."
 
Mancini is getting a lot of time at first base and has found it invaluable.
 
"I've started every away game with the exception of one, I think. I feel like I'm getting plenty of reps out there," Mancini said. "I feel good out there. I feel a lot more comfortable than I've felt in prior years and confident. I just slowed down. At the end of the season, [infield coach] Bobby Dickerson worked with [me] a lot about just slowing the game down, trying, I hate to use the term, do less, but just kind of relaxing and let the ball get to you instead of just attacking everything at 100 mph. I feel like I'm softer with my hands and doing a much better job out there."

There's been some talk the Orioles could try to convert Mancini to an outfielder, but there are concerns about his arm, and with the additions of the veterans, the chances of him playing there aren't high.
 
"It's tough. We've got a lot of guys, anyway," Mancini said. "I'm out there in BP shagging just in case it comes up. I've been playing first in the games and everything. We'll see what happens in that regard, but I'm keeping myself prepared."
 
MILEY RECOVERS: After allowing four runs and getting hit with a line drive in his last start, lefty Wade Miley pitched three scoreless innings as the Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-4, before 7,328 at Ed Smith Stadium March 8.
 
Miley gave up two hits and struck out two.
 
"I feel like I threw the fastball the same way last time," Miley said. "Didn't get a few calls. Put the ball in play a little more, obviously. I was happy with it."
 
Right-hander Darren O'Day followed Miley and pitched a spotless fourth. O'Day has three shutout innings this spring.
 
Craig Gentry, trying to make the team as a backup outfielder, had a three-run home run in the second.
 
ONDRUSEK AILING: Right-handed reliever Logan Ondrusek will have an MRI on his right elbow. Ondrusek reported elbow discomfort after the March 6 game.
 
Ondrusek had been slowed by an ankle injury early in camp and has pitched just twice.
 
"I feel snake-bitten right now," Ondrusek said. "The ankle was just a fluke deal, trying to avoid a collision and ended up hurting myself and missing time, and as soon as I got better and am starting to feel really good … this happens."
 
In other injury news, right-handed starter Chris Tillman (shoulder) and left-handed reliever Zach Britton (oblique) both threw from full mounds and continue to progress. The Orioles hope Tillman is ready for a March 17 start. Britton's first appearance has yet to be scheduled.
 
Minor league infielder Garabez Rosa, who is regularly added to the Orioles' roster for Grapefruit League games, has a left hand injury.
 
CUTS: The Orioles optioned right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell and Jason Garcia to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigned left-handed pitcher Jed Bradley and catcher Yermin Mercedes to minor league camp. They have 51 players on the spring training roster.
 
COMING UP: The Orioles have their first day off of the spring March 9, and then play at Fort Myers, Fla., against the Boston Red Sox March 10. Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will face righty Kyle Kendrick.