5 highlights from Trey Mancini's Q&A

January 23rd, 2023

CHICAGO -- has discussed his role as a veteran in the clubhouse with the Cubs' front office. He has gone over his place on the field with manager David Ross. He has connected with new hitting coach Dustin Kelly and is ready to get to work with him soon.

On Monday, Mancini met with Chicago media via Zoom and raved about Chicago's offseason moves -- signing the likes of , and , among others -- to enhance the group already in place. That is one reason the first baseman saw the North Siders as such a great fit.

"When you have a lot of exciting young talent," Mancini said, "matched with some of the right veteran guys, that can be a great mix. That can really propel, especially the younger guys, forward. Those younger guys with a lot of talent and not a lot of experience, how quickly they grow is very important to the team's success.

"So, I think it's just getting the right mix of people in there. And I think that we've certainly done that. And I'm excited for us all to be in the same clubhouse and get started."

Here are five highlights of Mancini's Q&A on Monday:

1. Prior to signing Mancini, the Cubs also signed first baseman . The club can divvy up the playing time at first between the veterans, but Mancini made sure Ross knew he was available for outfield or DH duties, too.

"I can play different places," Mancini said. "That's going to be my role, is moving around. It'll probably depend on who's pitching on the other team. Where I'm playing is going to depend on that. So, that's what Rossy told me when I talked to him on the phone. And I told him, 'You know, I don't care where I play at all. I just like playing.'"

2. After being traded to the Astros by the Orioles, Mancini hit just .148 in September and then went 1-for-21 in the postseason. But in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the World Series, he made a game-saving defensive play at first to help Houston to a critical 3-2 victory in its journey to the title.

"You learn a lot," Mancini said. "You have to stick through those tough times. And even when you're not feeling great, you're playing for something much bigger than yourself. And that's something I knew even before that, but whenever you're going through it, it's tough. You have to stay the course, because your number is going to be called when you least expect it. And that's what happened in Game 5 of the World Series when Yuli [Gurriel] went down, You've got to be ready every time."

3. Mancini is a survivor of Stage 3 colon cancer. After returning from the illness, he won the American League's Comeback Player of the Year in 2021 and turned in a solid season in '22. In those two years combined, Mancini had 39 homers with 134 RBIs and a .735 OPS in 290 games.

"Before I went through any of that, baseball slumps were the biggest issue I'd ever faced in my life," he said. "And I'm lucky to say that -- that that was the biggest problem that I had. It puts a lot of things in perspective. I haven't changed a lot as a player, I'd say. I still have the same intensity, still really want to do well and contribute and be a huge impact on the team. But it does make you realize what a real problem is and what a baseball problem is, and, you know, you can get through any of them."

4. After White Sox closer Liam Hendriks revealed earlier this offseason that he was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has begun treatment, Mancini sent the pitcher a note of support.

"I just reached out and said, 'If you need any advice, I'm here,'" Mancini said. "It was on the day of his first treatment, so he said, 'Thanks so much.' He had just gone with the treatment and he said he was going to circle back with me. Obviously, different chemos, but at the same time, you're not going to be feeling ideal whenever you're going through it. So I wanted him to know I have some advice at least on what makes you feel better during chemo and how to get through it a little bit better."

5. Mancini was originally planning on suiting up for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic, but has since decided that it would be better for him to stay with the Cubs for the entirety of Spring Training.

"We thought it might behoove me to be there the whole time with the team," Mancini said. "Especially since I'm going to be a kind of more veteran presence in the clubhouse. So, it probably will be better for me to stay there all spring and get to know the guys and be there."