Trey Mancini recounts beating cancer amid the pandemic on the TODAY Show

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Matt Weyrich
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Trey Mancini recounts beating cancer amid the pandemic originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Trey Mancini entered spring training in 2020 hoping to build off a career year with the Orioles that saw him hit 35 home runs and score 106 runs. Instead, a routine physical revealed that he had Stage III colon cancer. He would have surgery within a week and chemotherapy began about a month later.

As Mancini’s life turned upside down, so did the rest of the world. He underwent surgery to remove the malignant tumor in his colon on March 12, the same day Major League Baseball suspended spring training amid rising coronavirus concerns. It would be four months before the season picked back up but even then, Mancini was still undergoing treatments.

Just over a year after the initial diagnosis, Mancini is cancer-free and back in Baltimore preparing for the 2021 season to begin Thursday. The Orioles infielder spoke with the TODAY Show’s Craig Melvin about the challenges he faced returning to the field in time for Opening Day.

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“It was very difficult,” Mancini said. “Nobody was able to go to my treatments with me throughout the entire thing. My girlfriend Sara [Perlman] and I were in Washington, D.C. I was getting treated at [Johns] Hopkins and she wasn’t even allowed to come in with me so that was a really tough part of it but she took plenty enough care of me at home.”

Mancini was declared cancer-free in November and registered his first official game back in a spring training game Feb. 28. The socially distanced crowd in Sarasota, Florida, gave Mancini a standing ovation before he singled in his first at-bat.

A baseball player again, Mancini is grateful for the chance to be back with his teammates after COVID-19 protocols didn’t allow him to see them last season.

“It was really hard for me not to be able to go see them at the stadium and be a part of the team,” Mancini said. “It was the first year of my life that I was never part of a baseball team but I kept in touch with them. Almost every day, one of my teammates would text me.”