Trey Mancini reflected on his return from cancer in Orioles Opening Day victory

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Julius Long
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Mancini reflected on his return from cancer in Orioles Opening Day originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Last year was one of, if not the, toughest year of Trey Mancini's life. He left training camp early after being diagnosed with colon cancer, unsure and frankly unconcerned about whether he'd ever play baseball again.

On Friday, Mancini stepped to the plate in the Orioles season opener against the Red Sox knowing that he'd already won his toughest battle. After the game, he reflected on what this special Opening Day meant to him.

"I made sure to soak it all in, no matter what happened today, and just appreciate doing this for a living. I'm not going to ever take that for granted," Mancini told reporters.

Soon after Mancini underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor, the 2020 MLB season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. In November 2020, he announced that he was cancer-free and that he'd return to Baltimore for the 2021 season. But making it back for Opening Day and playing with fans in the stand added to the gravity of the moment.

Related: Mancini gets a hug from Red Sox shortstop

"This is the most special one, no doubt about it. Even, I'd say, more so than my major league debut. You know, when you hear you're diagnosed with cancer, like I've told you guys, baseball was the last thing on my mind," he said.

"The fact that I'm a year removed from the diagnosis, going through six months of chemotherapy, a lot of things ran through my mind today—days where I couldn't get out of bed, days where I was hunched over the toilet sick. It was all worth it to be back here, to be out there with the guys. It's something that I can't describe." 

Related: Means dominant in O's win

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde gave Mancini the nod to start at first base in his first regular-season game since Sept. 29, 2019. On a day in which the game was secondary to the occasion, Mancini grounded into double plays in the first and third innings, scoring on Ryan Mouncastle's game-winning double in the Orioles 3-0 victory.