Mancini finds place in heart of the or­der

Rookie gets at-bats against left­ies that would have gone to Pearce

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Ed­uardo A. Encina eencina@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­dieInTheYard

TORONTO — Ori­oles rookie Trey Mancini made just his fourth ma­jor league start Wednes­day night at Rogers Cen­tre, and de­spite that in­ex­pe­ri­ence he’s found him­self a home in the mid­dle of the bat­ting or­der — al­beit a slump­ing one — against left-handed pitch­ing.

Mancini bat­ted fifth against left-han­der Fran­cisco Liri­ano. It’s the third time he’s hit in that spot. He en­tered Wednes­day hav­ing home­red in all three games he’s started, and has been pa­tient with his at-bats.

The in­ser­tion of Mancini into the heart of the lineup is an in­di­ca­tion of how much the Ori­oles have strug­gled of­fen­sively of late. The 24-year-old has jumped into his role.

“I think the im­por­tance of all the games I’ve played in kind of out­weighed the fact that they were my first ma­jor league games,” Mancini said. “It’s cool, but at the same time, that’s not the most im­por­tant thing that’s hap­pen­ing in this game, by any means. It al­most helps in a wayto be in this race, be­cause there’s no fo­cus on that. I’m just one of the guys in the lineup. That’s kind of the way I’ve ap­proached it, and I think that’s helped me as far as my com­fort fac­tor.”

Mancini is 5-for-14 in his brief ma­jor league ca­reer af­ter go­ing 0-for-3 Wednes­day, and he’s been sur­prised at how much he’s played, ba­si­cally as­sum­ing at-bats that Steve Pearce would have had against left-han­ders.

“Kind of as an out­sider, you know it’s late in the sea­son, and I hadn’t had any ma­jor league ex­pe­ri­ence,” Mancini said. “But it gave me some con­fi­dence when they called me up and threw me into the fire al­most, and I told my­self, ‘Hey, I have this op­por­tu­nity and I’m play­ing. I have to per­form here.’ It’s been pretty in­cred­i­ble. I’m just happy to help con­trib­ute.”

Ori­oles man­ager Buck Showal­ter said he’s been pleas­antly sur­prised at the con­tri­bu­tions of Mancini, who has been one of the club’s most pro­duc­tive hit­ters in a lineup that’s scored three runs or fewer in nine of its past 10 games.

“You know when you’re young and bul­let­proof and you don’t have any­thing to say, ‘I shouldn’t be do­ing this,’ ” Showal­ter said. “I don’t talk to him a whole lot about it, say, ‘You know what’s go­ing on?’ He doesn’t need that. ... I think he’s a smart guy, but I think some­times ig­no­rance might be bliss. I’m sure he knows what’s go­ing on.”

Mancini’s power is there, Showal­ter said, but it was likely stunted by play­ing at cav­ernous Har­bor Park at Triple-A Nor­folk. Mancini hit 13 homers in 125 games for the Tides.

“You also have to un­der­stand the venue and the at­mos­phere he was play­ing in down­there,” Showal­ter said. “He feels like he’s been let out of jail. He’s hit balls and they go, ‘Oh, that ball went over the fence here.’ We’ve tried to fix it. We­moved the fences in some, but you can’t change the wind cur­rents. … That’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween an 18-home run sea­son and a 23-home run sea­son.” Trey Mancini Look­ing ahead to New York: Right-han­der Yo­vani Gal­lardo is sched­uled to start Fri­day night’s se­ries opener at Yan­kee Sta­dium, Showal­ter an­nounced.

Gal­lardo will be work­ing on six days’ rest af­ter go­ing on eight days and seven days be­fore mak­ing his pre­vi­ous two starts.

Gal­lardo is com­ing off a qual­ity start in his most re­cent out­ing Fri­day: He held the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs to two runs on five hits over six in­nings. He has held op­po­nents to three runs or fewer in three of his past four out­ings.

His last out­ing against the Yan­kees in the Bronx was his worst of the sea­son. Gal­lardo lasted just 11⁄ in­nings — his short­est start of the year — in a14-4 loss. He al­lowed a sea­son-high eight runs (seven earned) on six hits.

Showal­ter said WadeMi­ley, whois away from the team for the birth of his first child, had a work day on his own Wednes­day and is sched­uled to start Satur­day’s game in New York.

Mi­ley, who is com­ing off 82⁄ in­nings of one-run ball in his most re­cent start Satur­day against Ari­zona, has made just one start this sea­son against the Yan­kees, al­low­ing four runs on five hits in five in­nings in a 5-2 home loss Sept. 4. Around the horn: Satur­day’s game in New York, orig­i­nally sched­uled as a 1:08 p.m. start, will be­gin at 4:05 p.m. … The Ori­oles an­nounced a pair of “post­sea­son push” ral­lies. The first will be Fri­day at Mother’s North Grille in Ti­mo­nium from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The sec­ond will take place Satur­day at Wal-Mart in Tow­son Mar­ket­place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Go to ori­oles.com/ral­lies for more in­for­ma­tion.

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