Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini, who missed the entire 2020 season because of Stage 3 colon cancer, received a standing ovation from the crowd and both dugouts Sunday during his first live at-bat of spring training.
When Mancini came up in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he drew a large round of applause as he approached the batter's box. The cheers began to grow after Mancini waved to the crowd, prompting pitcher Chad Kuhl to step off the mound and umpire Will Little to clean the plate to prolong the ovation.
After tipping his helmet to acknowledge the gesture, Mancini ripped a single to center field.
"It was amazing," Mancini told reporters when asked about the ovation. "I almost teared up a little bit, I'm not going to lie, when I was up there and everybody gave me a standing ovation and I saw all the guys on the field clapping on the Pirates, clapping in the dugout, our team and all our fans.
"It meant the world to me. It was a really, really cool moment and one of the favorite moments of my baseball career. I think it was a huge day for me, personally, getting back in a game. Just another kind of milestone that I can check off here."
Mancini recorded 35 home runs and 97 RBIs for the Orioles in the 2019 campaign and appeared ready to build on that season in 2020. But after playing only five spring training games last year, he required season-ending surgery for colon cancer.
"It's almost a year to the day when I was last in a game, so it definitely felt like a moment where we came full circle a little bit," Mancini said. "I thought more about everything that happened today than I have in a long time. I've mostly tried to in a lot of ways just move on and not think too much about last year.
"But today I ran through all the tough days that we had and really tried to appreciate and cherish today."
The 28-year-old Mancini has a .276 batting average with 86 home runs and 238 RBIs over four seasons with the Orioles.