Baltimore Orioles

'My body was all chills': Eduardo Rodriguez, Trey Mancini moved by receptions after COVID-19, cancer battles


Weeks, perhaps months from now, Mancini would like to make contact with pitches and lift the ball and see his body persevere through a 162-game season as it did all the way to the end of 2019, when he slugged 35 home runs and the Orioles knew they’d have several more years to build around their affable slugger.


They went their separate ways after that final game at Fenway Park, neither with any inkling that 2020 would bring not glory but fear, not sparkling statistics but rather an ugly red line on their stat sheets, a nonexistent year in the baseball world.


In the real world, not within baseball’s metrics but rather their own personal nightmares, Mancini was felled by a stunning spring diagnosis of Stage 3 colon cancer, the removal of a malignant tumor, the hell of chemotherapy.


Five months later, it was Rodriguez walking away from Red Sox summer camp on Aug. 1, unable to respond to the physical rigors of pitching after a bout with myocarditis, the most damaging and potentially deadly aftereffect of COVID-19, which four days after Mancini’s March surgery was declared a global pandemic.


Moments earlier, after inducing a groundout from Mancini to end the fifth inning, he was met by Cora at the top of the Red Sox dugout and wrapped in a hug.


He’s still stuck on that number, and with all the bouquets thrown his way, he cherishes a return to normalcy, a world where he clubs moonshots over fences and is just another face in the clubhouse.






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