The Trey Mancini comeback story is expected to continue Tuesday night when the Baltimore Orioles visit the Miami Marlins for the opener of a two-game series.
Mancini, the Orioles' first baseman, slugged 83 homers from 2017 to 2019 before missing last year due to colon cancer.
This year, with his cancer in remission, Mancini is back, but he's hitting just .186 -- well below his career number of .273. He has three homers, but his .636 OPS does not compare with his career number in that stat (.813).
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is not concerned, however.
"The guy hasn't played in a year," Hyde said of Mancini, who drove in 97 runs for the Orioles in 2019. "It's not easy to play in the big leagues. He thinks he's just going to pick up right where he left off, but it might take a little time.
"I want him to relax and not try to carry us in any way."
The Orioles could sure use Mancini's help. Since sweeping the Boston Red Sox in three games to start the season, the Orioles have won only four of their last 13 games.
On the mound on Tuesday, the Orioles will start right-hander Matt Harvey (0-1, 5.02 ERA).
This is now the fifth major league team for Harvey, 32. He was 25-18 with a 2.53 ERA in his first three years in the majors, all of them with the New York Mets. But since 2016, he is 19-35 with a 5.79 ERA. He hasn't had a quality start since April 28, 2019.
In three starts this season, he has yet to last past five innings.
Harvey is 1-3 with a 3.83 ERA in seven career starts in Miami. He is 2-4 with a 4.31 ERA in 11 starts against the Marlins.
The Marlins, who. have won two straight series and six of their past eight games, will counter Harvey with rookie Nick Neidert (0-0, 4.00 ERA), who will be making just his third career start.
Neidert, who has yet to face the Orioles in his six career appearances, has a 4.00 ERA as a starter and a 5.40 ERA as a reliever. But he has been better in four road appearances (2.70 ERA) than in two at home (11.25 ERA).
His biggest issue this season has been control. He issued five walks in 4.1 innings in his 2021 debut against the Mets and followed that up with four free passes in 4.2 innings in his most recent outing, last Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves. The Marlins split those two games.
The bad news for the Marlins on Tuesday is that they will likely be without one of their hottest hitters, center fielder Starling Marte, who left Sunday's game against the San Francisco Giants with what appears to be an oblique injury.
Marte has missed time with a similar injury three previous times in his career -- in his rookie 2012 season as well as in 2018 and 2019.
Once Marte grabbed his side while batting in Sunday's ninth inning, Marlins manager Don Mattingly wasn't going to let him push it.
"He was trying to convince us to let him continue," Mattingly said of Marte, who is batting .316 with a .912 OPS. "But I've had a couple of those injuries as a player. It never goes good."
--Field Level Media