Orioles star outfielder Trey Mancini, who left the team Saturday to have a medical procedure that wasn’t related to baseball, had a malignant tumor successfully removed from his colon Thursday, the team announced.
According to the Orioles, it was discovered last week during a colonoscopy, and lab results and a timetable for Mancini’s recovery will not be known until next week.
“The outpouring of love and support I have received has made an extremely tough week so much better,” Mancini, 27, said in a statement. “I have the best family, friends, fans, and teammates imaginable. I am also eternally thankful for the Orioles front office, our athletic trainers, and the entire medical staff for everything they have done to help me during this time. Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and kind words, which have furthered my excitement to get back to playing the game I love.”
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure Trey recovers fully, and we can’t wait to see him back on the field as soon as possible,” Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said in a statement.
The update comes as an answer to what’s possibly been ailing Mancini as he missed time on two occasions this spring with illness. He didn’t participate in workouts because of what was believed to be an ailment going around the clubhouse early in camp, and last played March 2. The plan was for him to only get two at-bats that day, as he wasn’t feeling well but wanted to play.
He didn’t get back into a game before informing his teammates of his situation the morning of March 7, and Hyde disclosed that he was set for a “non-baseball medical procedure” that afternoon.
Mancini tweeted an update a day later to thank people for their support as he dealt with his medical uncertainty. He said: “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone for their kind sentiments and well wishes. It further drives home the fact that I am surrounded by the best family, friends/teammates, and fans that I could ever ask for. … Once there is more clarity, I will be sure to keep everyone updated over the next few days. I look forward to a healthy recovery and being back on the field soon!”
Vivek Kumbhari, an associate professor of medicine and director of bariatric endoscopy for Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, said that while there’s a certain population of high-risk individuals for pre-cancerous or cancerous growths in the colon that includes individuals with family histories of cancer over the age of 60, a patient wouldn’t be initially screened at Mancini’s stage in life unless symptoms are present.
Those symptoms include loss of appetite, blood in bowel movements, unintentional weight loss, and lethargy — “which is often a symptom of anemia and low blood levels,” Kumbhari said.
“You can present with just very low blood level,” he said. “That can be the very first symptom of cancer, the fact that you’re tired.”
The key, he said, is early detection, especially in younger patients whose cases are often genetic and thus can be aggressive.
“The lesson is, the earlier you find out about this, the longer you live, and the more likely you are to be cured," Kumbhari said. "You certainly don’t want to delay.”
Upon removal, doctors also take some of the nearby lymph nodes to see if that was affected as well, he said.
That, and the location of the exact location of the tumor that was removed, dictate what, if any, further treatment is required.
“What he’s going through is a big deal, and I know he’s only turning 28 this year,” Kumbhari said. “He had a big contract this year with the Orioles, and hopefully when we learn more about the tumor, I hope it’s localized in the colon and everything’s fine.”
Mancini was the voted Most Valuable Oriole in his breakout season in 2019. He set career highs with 35 home runs and an .899 OPS, narrowly missing out on his first appearance in the MLB All-Star Game.
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Since he debuted in September 2016 with some memorable home runs in the team’s last playoff push, Mancini has been a fixture in the Orioles’ lineup. He finished third in voting for the American League Rookie of the Year in 2017, and as the last generation of stars like Manny Machado and Adam Jones left the team, Mancini’s star rose.
More recently, he took over Jones’ annual Ravens tailgate fundraiser, with proceeds going to local sports superfan Mo Gaba, who Mancini has grown close with.
When teammates spoke of what he was going through when he left the team, they talked just as much about Mancini as a person as him as a player.
“There’s nobody I know of that’s more determined on the field and just an all-around good person,” pitcher Alex Cobb said this past weekend. “There’s nobody in the locker room that can’t get along with Trey. He can relate to so many people on so many different levels. He’s just so well-rounded. He’s smart, one of the smarter guys that I’ve been around and always fun to be around…always smiling, always nice to everybody, treats everybody with kindness, so to see him go through what he’s going through is very difficult, but gives us all an opportunity to show how much we love him and rally around him.”
In recent years, several major leaguers have missed time because of serious health issues. Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco missed part of the 2019 season with chronic myeloid leukemia, a treatable form of the disease that kept him out from late May to early September.
Former Colorado Rockies reliever Chad Bettis, now with the New York Yankees, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December 2016 and had surgery to remove the cancerous cells. He later needed chemotherapy after the cancer spread, but returned to majors August 14, 2017, with the Rockies.
In 2015, Detroit Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris had a malignant tumor diagnosed during the season but had it removed that October, pitching for several months after the diagnosis. Other major leaguers who have continued to have productive careers after fighting cancer include Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.