Baltimore Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins turned in one of the biggest breakouts of the 2021 MLB season. After barely playing his first three seasons, Mullins dropped switch hitting, belted 30 home runs and received down-ballot MVP votes.
He did all of that shortly after getting diagnosed with Crohn's disease, Mullins revealed Wednesday.
Today, Cedric Mullins shares a very personal story for the first time.
Mullins was baseball's only 30-30 player last season, and he did it while battling Crohn's disease.@cedmull30 | @CrohnsColitisFn pic.twitter.com/HoOLgpGXRx
— MLB Players Media (@MLBPlayersMedia) February 2, 2022
Mullins revealed he started having discomfort using the bathroom just before the 2020 MLB season. Mullins started experiencing symptoms around the same time teammate Trey Mancini was diagnosed with colon cancer, which worried Mullins. He underwent tests in 2020 but his symptoms didn't get any better.
That offseason, Mullins had 10-15 centimeters of his intestines removed and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Mullins developed an infection after the surgery. He also lost 20 pounds.
Mullins recovered from the surgery and got in shape in time for the start of the 2021 MLB season. After dropping switch hitting, and finally being healthy, Mullins hit .291/.360/.518, with 30 home runs, over 675 plate appearances. That performance earned Mullins his first All-Star game nod. He also won a Silver Slugger award for his offensive prowess. He was one of the brightest spots on an Orioles team that won 52 games.
What is Crohn's disease?
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in a person's gastrointestinal tract. The disease has no cure, but can go into remission with proper treatment. Crohn's disease is often linked to ulcerative colitis, which has similar symptoms. Over 3.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with IBD.
Mullins will have support from other athletes dealing with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard and former New England Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light both played with the disease. Portland Trail Blazers big man Larry Nance Jr. has talked about his diagnosis. Olympic swimmer Kathleen Baker also has Crohn's disease.
Free-agent reliever Jake Diekman has openly talked about his diagnosis with ulcerative colitis. Diekman reached out to Mullins on Twitter on Wednedsay. Diekman said he "couldn't be more proud" of Mullins for revealing his diagnosis and raising awareness.