Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 23, 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 50 of 55 OCT. 23, 2017 51 IRISH IN THE PROS BY COREY BODDEN I n September 2016, former Irish star first baseman Trey Mancini made his major league debut for the Baltimore Orioles after being selected in the eighth round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Mancini promptly homered in his second professional at-bat, against the Boston Red Sox, and played in five games, hitting .357 with three home runs and five runs batted in. Heading into the 2017 campaign, Mancini was not guaranteed a spot on the Orioles 25-man major league roster. He was also blocked at first base by veteran power hitter Chris Davis. During the spring, Mancini transitioned to the outfield in hopes of finding a path to the majors. He showed enough during the spring at the plate and at his new po- sition to warrant a spot on the open- ing-day roster. He made the most of his opportunity and worked himself into being a fixture in the lineup for the Orioles. Switching time between left field and first base, Mancini played in 147 games and hit .293 over 543 at-bats. He continued the power he showed during September 2016 by belting 24 home runs among 159 overall hits and driving in 78 runs. His season totals for home runs and hits put him near the marks of Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray during their first full season with the Orioles. Ripken bat- ted .264 with 28 home runs and 158 hits during his 1982 rookie season, while Murray was at .283 with 27 home runs and 173 hits in 1977. "I don't know if it was unex- pected," Mancini told The Baltimore Sun in August after he hit his 20th home run. "I didn't really think too much before the season about how many home runs did I think I would hit. It definitely feels good, especially back in spring training not knowing where I was going to be this year. "I just really not try to take any time for granted here and am trying to help this team win some games." Mancini was beyond a surprise for the Orioles in 2017 with not only his play, but also ability to handle work- ing in the outfield. "Trey Mancini was a great story in spring training, but no one was quite sure what would happen after he forced his way onto the opening day roster," Orioles writer Brittany Ghiroli noted. "Mancini im- pressed everyone in the outfield — a new position for him — and he became the team's most consistent hitter. "He ran balls out hard, played bet- ter defense than expected and moved himself up in the lineup as he played his way into a regular role. Mancini was always able to dial up what the team needed. "With 159 hits on the season, Man- cini moved ahead of Cal Ripken Jr. for sole possession of second place on the Orioles' all-time rookie hits list." Expectations will rise for Mancini heading into the 2018 campaign with the Orioles looking to get back to the playoffs after appearing in three of the previous five postseasons. MLB PLAYER UPDATE Through Oct. 4 • John Axford (Played at Notre Dame from 2002‑05), RHP, Free Agent: Was released by the Oakland A's Aug. 1, and did not sign with another team … Struggled in 22 relief appearances, notch- ing a 0-1 record and 6.43 ERA … Recorded 21 strikeouts in 21 innings, but also allowed 44 base runners (27 hits and 17 walks). • Trey Mancini (2011‑13), 1B/OF, Baltimore Ori‑ oles: Saw action in 147 of the Orioles' 162 contests … Batted .293 with 65 runs scored, 24 home runs and 78 RBI. • David Phelps (2006‑08), RHP, Seattle Mariners: Was traded to the Mariners July 20, with three prospects going to the Miami Marlins … For the season, made 54 relief appearances while register- ing a 4-5 record with 21 holds, 62 strikeouts and a 3.40 ERA in 55 2 ⁄3 innings. • A.J. Pollock (2007‑10), OF, Arizona Diamond‑ backs: Saw action in 112 regular-season games … Hit .266 with 73 runs scored, 14 homers, 49 RBI and 20 stolen bases … The Diamondbacks made the playoffs as a wild card team … Was 2 for 5 with a run scored and two RBI in Arizona's 11-8 win over Colorado in the wild card playoff game … The D-Backs started a best-of-five series with the Los Angeles Dodgers Oct. 6. • Jeff Samardzija (2003‑06), RHP, San Francisco Giants: Finished with a 9-15 record and a 4.42 ERA in 32 starts … Whiffed 205 batters in 207 2 ⁄3 innings of work and made 20 quality starts. ✦ Trey Mancini Impresses During His Rookie Campaign NOTRE DAME IN THE NFL: Week Four Highlights • Matthias Farley (Played at Notre Dame from 2011-15), DB, Indianapolis Colts: Registered 10 tackles and an interception in a 46-18 loss at Seattle. • Will Fuller (2013-15), WR, Houston Texans: In his first action of 2017, caught four passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns in a 57-14 victory over Tennessee. • Jaylon Smith (2013-15), LB, Dallas Cowboys: Led the team with 10 tack- les in a 35-30 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. • Stephon Tuitt (2011-13), DE, Pittsburgh Steelers: Returned to action af- ter missing the previous two weeks with a biceps injury … Registered three tackles, including 1.5 for loss and half a sack, in a 26-9 victory over Baltimore. Mancini made the most of his rookie season with the Orioles, hitting .293 with 24 home runs and 78 RBI. PHOTO COURTESY BALTIMORE ORIOLES

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