Mancini showing O's he can handle challenge

Rookie mans right field for first time, setting up tough decision for Baltimore

Mancini showing O's he can handle challenge

BALTIMORE -- Running down the orange carpet on Monday's Opening Day was something Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini will never forget. Now, the challenge for the rookie, who made a big splash when he came up in late September, is staying with the Major League team at a new position.

"There's only one way to answer some of these questions," said manager Buck Showalter, who put Mancini in right field for the first time in a big league game on Wednesday. "Some guys may surprise you. He's not afraid. He's not going to get timid. He's one of those guys who is going to go for it. And that's what I like about him. He's going to be as good as he's capable of being out there. The reps are going to be somewhat of a challenge early on, but those things have a way of working out. He's been working very hard at it, and there's a reward for him."

Mancini is coming off an impressive spring, in which he seemingly carried over his late-season success and was able to exceed early expectations in the outfield. While a roster move will have to be made by Sunday -- the O's are currently carrying just three starting pitchers -- if Mancini keeps playing well, it will be tough a tough decision for Baltimore.

"Whatever they want me to do is my mindset," said Mancini, who went 5-for-14 with three homers for the Orioles in late September. "I got to go out there and try to contribute and play to the best of my abilities. That's truly all you can do and all you can control."

With Mark Trumbo re-signed this offseason as the primary designated hitter and Chris Davis locked in at first base, Mancini made the move to the outfield and has diligently done the work. He credits the team's other outfielders like Trumbo, Joey Rickard and Adam Jones with helping him early on, particularly as he adjusts to playing the ball off of the Camden Yards wall.

"It's all about trust, from everything they told me. And trying to relax, which is a difficult thing for me, going to a new position," Mancini said. "But I feel a lot more comfortable now and that I can do a good job out there."

Whether that will be enough to save Mancini from the pending roster crunch remains to be seen. Regardless, he is turning heads and impressing the organization.

"Athletically, he can handle [right field]," Showalter said. "He wants to be good at everything He's willing to do anything. It creates another good option for us if he's able to do it. And the next step is can he play both corners or not?"

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.