Trey Mancini of the Houston Astros gets a warm welcome in return for Baltimore

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BALTIMORE — Even before he arrived at Camden Yards as a member of the road team, this visit was different for Trey Mancini.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever taken a bus here,” he said. “Rather than park in the parking lot, I was dropped off here.”

Mancini played Thursday night in Baltimore for the first time since the Orioles traded him to the Houston Astros a day earlier on Aug. 1. 2 Trade Deadline. Mancini received a standing ovation when he came to the plate for the first time in the second inning, then looked and struck out.

“I have a great relationship with the fans here and they’re always going to be a special part of my baseball experience,” Mancini said before the game. “So I’m definitely looking forward to that.”

The warm reaction from fans is not surprising. Mancini played for the Orioles from 2016 to August. When he missed all of 2020 following a colon cancer diagnosis, then returned and won Player of the Year honors in 2021, it was one of baseball’s heartwarming stories.

“The first time I dealt with someone being told they had cancer in my office, with the parents and loved ones there, hearing the doctors talk, it was a day I’ll never forget,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. . “I learned a lot from him, honestly, at that time — someone who went through this crazy adversity. A young man, to get this cancer that’s so rare for someone his age, to deal with it the way he did. Inspiring.”

Mancini last batted as an Oriole at Camden Yards It was July 28if he was traded before the team’s next home game, the fans would give him a standing ovation if he hit an inside-the-park home run.

Baltimore is in the postseason race without Mancini, though the Orioles are running out of time. They entered Thursday four games behind Seattle for the final wild card in the American League.

Mancini and the Astros had already clinched the AL West title, setting him up to play in the postseason for the first time. He made his major league debut in 2016 — the last time Baltimore qualified — but played in just five games for the Orioles that year and was not a participant when they lost to Toronto in the wild-card game.

Since then, Mancini hit 20 homers in every season he played for Baltimore until he was traded this year. On Thursday, he was back, but this time in the visitors’ clubhouse.

“I don’t really know where anything is in the locker room, where the kitchen is, anything like that,” he said. “So it was a little strange to be in a very familiar place, but to be so unfamiliar with part of it.”

Before the game started, Mancini received a brief tribute on the scoreboard and the fans gave him a standing ovation. He took off his hat and clapped his hands in response. There was a long reception before his first batting.

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