Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini is off to a slow start to the 2021 season, going 8-for-53 (.151) entering Saturday’s action against the Rangers. So manager Brandon Hyde decided to drop Mancini down a notch in the lineup from cleanup to the fifth hole and swapped him to become the designated hitter.
Hyde said that he is trying to take the pressure off of Mancini, who is trying hard to get back to being the slugger that he was in 2019. That year, Mancini hit .291 with 35 home runs and 97 RBIs. He was sidelined all of last year because of colon cancer.
“The guy hasn’t played in a year,” said Hyde. “It’s not easy to play in the big leagues, anyway. He thinks he is going to pick up where he left off. We have full confidence he is going to be the player that he is. It might take a little time because he hasn’t seen Major League pitching in over a year. It’s not easy to do.
"I want him to relax and have at-bats and not try to carry us in any way. I want him to be himself and get back into the swing of things.”
On the defensive end, Mancini has been solid, according to Hyde, but he still has to get used to the speed of the game. The skipper pointed out that Mancini played most of his big league career in the outfield.
“He is still learning the position," said Hyde of Mancini at first. "He is going to continue to improve and you have to be patient."
• Outfielder Austin Hays, currently on the 10-day injured list because of a right hamstring strain, will more than likely rejoin the Orioles on Tuesday when they play the Marlins, according to Hyde.
Hays has been playing games at the alternate training site in Bowie. He injured his hamstring against the Red Sox on April 4.
“[Hays] has progressed very well,” Hyde said. “He played the last couple of days and checked all the boxes from a health standpoint.”
In three starts, Kremer could not get through the fifth inning, posting a 6.75 ERA.