Trey Mancini wants to stay with the Orioles through the rebuilding project, but he acknowledged the situation is out of his hands.
“Of course, I want to stay,” Mancini said Friday before the Orioles began the second half of their season against the Kansas City Royals. “I’ve always said that and I still do. But that is something that I can’t control … It’s a business and I know that, so whatever happens, it happens.
“I really hope to stay, but I understand there is a much bigger picture than just myself. I hope to stay, I think I will. But, at the same time, it’s not anything that I will put much thought into because I really have no say in it.”
Mancini would be an attractive player for a contender with the July 30th trade deadline approaching. He is batting .256/.331/.460 with 16 homers and 55 RBIs. Mancini is also a leader in the clubhouse and can play multiple positions.
He’s also a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year after missing the entire 2020 season because of colon cancer surgery followed by six months of chemotherapy.
Mancini has become a spokesman for colorectal cancer awareness and never had a bigger audience to share his story with than during Monday night’s Home Run Derby. He reached the finals and finished second to the Mets’ Pete Alonso.
“There have been countless people who reached out and told me they were recently either diagnosed with colon cancer or another form of cancer or any illness,” he said. “It was so touching, and that is exactly why I wanted to do it. And my older sister runs my foundation and she said we are just trying to sort through all the messages. She has told me about some really cool ones we’ve seen.
“It’s something that I want to respond to everything I can. It’s really tough, but I’m just so appreciative of all the kind words. The messages have been flooding in. It’s been amazing.”
Mancini’s would like to keep his focus on the Orioles, who are 28-61 going into Friday’s game.
“I am just looking forward to seeing what this team can do in the second half,” Mancini said. “This is a huge half for us going into next year. It really is. And I said this on Sunday, but so much momentum can be built the last couple of months of the season going into the next year. I’m excited to see improvements that we can make in this half of baseball.”
Second-round pick signs: The Orioles signed infielder Connor Norby, who was selected by the team in the second round (41st overall) in the Major League Baseball draft.
Norby, 21, hit .415/.484/.659 (102-for-246) with 15 doubles, 15 home runs, 64 runs, and 51 RBI in 61 games during his junior season in 2021 at East Carolina. He was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year after leading the nation in hits and becoming the fourth player in program history with 100 or more hits in a season.
Norby was ranked as the No. 43 overall draft prospect by Baseball America and No. 58 by MLB. The approximate pick value for Norby is $1.81 million, according to MLB.
Lopez expected back: The Orioles expect to get pitcher Jorge López back from the bereavement list in time to start Saturday night against the Royals.
They are going with a 25-man roster for the series opener in Kansas City. After having four days off for the All-Star break, manager Brandon Hyde has a rested bullpen.
“We’re hoping that [López] will be back tomorrow and if he’s back by tonight, then he’ll start tomorrow’s game. That’s why this has been TBA,” Hyde said. “He had a family matter that he needed to take care of and was a little bit unsure when he’d be coming back, but probably would have been back today. It sounds like that’s going to happen, and so he’s our starter for tomorrow if everything works out smoothly this afternoon.”
The Orioles have a three-man taxi squad consisting of left-hander Alexander Wells, right-hander Conner Greene and catcher Nick Ciuffo.