Orioles’ Cedric Mullins explains management of Crohn’s diagnosis

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Cedric Mullins’ outstanding stats in 2021 for the Baltimore Orioles look even more impressive after learning offseason surgery had to overcome.

Mullins underwent bowel surgery in November 2020 after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He was diagnosed during the season and waited for it to end before having surgery.


“It was a shock for me to have to go through this,” Mullins said. “My main concern was to be ready for the season and not miss any moments and luckily I was able to do that and rebuild my body throughout the season.”

In 2021, Mullins became the first player in Orioles history to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season. He was also the starting center fielder for the American League in the All-Star Game and hit .291 at bat left-handed exclusively after giving up switch shots.

Mullins shared the news of his Crohn’s diagnosis with the Baltimore front office and a few close friends, including first baseman/designated hitter Trey Mancini, who missed the 2020 season after colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy.

Mancini’s recovery was the big story at Orioles camp last year, and Mullins chose not to reveal his illness to allow Mancini to share his story.

FILE – Baltimore Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins watches from the dugout after stealing a two-run homer against Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees in the second inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 , in Baltimore. Mullins’ stellar 2021 stats for the Orioles look even more impressive after learning about the offseason surgery he had to overcome.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

“My situation was not life or death,” Mullins said. “It was something that I knew I was going to be able to come back from, and Trey was coming back from his chemotherapy, and for me, all the support to get to him. For him to do what he did, come back and play a full season no matter how tired he was. He showed up every day and performed really well. I thought it was important for him to get that recognition.

“His accomplishment certainly outweighs mine.”

Mullins texted Mancini to tell him about his surgery and ask for his advice.

“The operation was very similar, and he asked to come back, and what did I do to improve?” said Mancini. “Obviously the situation was a bit different because I had chemo after my operation. You have to take a long time after that.

“It’s a huge shock to the body. I told him you have plenty of time to catch up. Don’t rush. You have plenty of time to come back and be yourself. You saw what he did. He did really well. I think he increased the appropriate amount, and he handled it incredibly well, I think.”

During the shortened 2020 season, Mullins played regularly for the first time, but his symptoms bothered him.

“I would have occasional cramps,” Mullins said. “In terms of pain in its own right, I haven’t really hit that mark.”

During the operation, which he detailed in a February video, 10 to 15 centimeters of intestine was removed. He lost 20 pounds. Once rehabilitated, Mullins felt several positive reactions.

“I think my recovery between games was much better, able to sleep better, able to eat better,” Mullins said. “I think that was the most important thing, feeling the natural energy coming back without having to force it.”


Manager Brandon Hyde was aware of Mullins’ issues and believes it makes his season even more impressive.

“He never let himself be bothered once,” Hyde said. “He never talked about it. He’s such a positive guy.”

Notes: The Orioles signed INF Chris Owings to a minor league contract. …C Adley Rutschman is out for a few days with a sore right elbow. … RHP Isaac Mattson will be out for about a month with a sore right shoulder.


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