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Orioles' Trey Mancini describes 'weird couple of months' since colon cancer surgery

Baltimore Orioles star Trey Mancini on Wednesday described the "weird couple of months" that he's been through since having surgery for stage 3 colon cancer on March 12 -- the same day baseball shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"That happened, literally, in the middle of my surgery," Mancini said Wednesday. "I woke up and my whole family told me they shut down spring training. After the 'Are you OK?' they told me what was going on. It was just a weird day. It's been a weird couple months for all of us."

Mancini, in a story he wrote Tuesday for The Players' Tribune, said he won't be back for the 2020 season, if there is one, as his chemotherapy treatments are just beginning. He's confident, however, he'll make a full recovery and play again in a year.

The irony of the timing of his operation wasn't lost on the first baseman/outfielder. The day he went under the knife was also the day the baseball season -- and world -- changed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"I got lucky because they stopped doing a lot of surgeries right after I got mine done," Mancini said Wednesday. "Like the week after, they reduced the amount of surgeries they were doing. It was just six days from my diagnosis. I feel so lucky in that regard.

"If I didn't have the medical care that we do with the Orioles I would not have caught this in time. I'm pretty confident it would have progressed to another stage, which would have been pretty devastating."

Having the ability to lean on his father, who also had colon cancer, has been helpful -- though his father never had to go through chemotherapy.

"You definitely have to take extra precautions if you're going through chemotherapy because you're more susceptible to contracting a disease," Mancini said. "Any time I leave the apartment, my mask is on. I really have to be careful with all that. I'm in the compromised group they talk about.

"When you're the patient, no one else can come into the hospital right now, which is how it should be. I've been passing time. I'm watching 'The Wire.' That's how I'm passing the time during treatments."

Those treatments are every other week and leave Mancini weak for several days before he finds his strength and appetite again for the next 10 days or so. That process will repeat itself for the next six months.

"It makes you sensitive to cold a little bit," Mancini said of chemotherapy. "My fingertips and toes, if I drink anything cold, I'm really sensitive to that for about 24 hours."

His diagnosis, at such a young age, took everyone by surprise.

"This was something difficult for all of us to process," Orioles GM Mike Elias said. "We were expecting to rule this out. ... This news hit and we were all shocked."

But that shocked turned to optimism as Mancini started the recovery process. On his better days, between chemo treatments, Mancini is doing some very light lifting while trying to keep in shape after some weight loss.

"From the second I got the diagnosis, I knew I had to accept it pretty quickly," Mancini said. "That's helped me a lot. I didn't mope around too much. ... It's weird that the world stopped at the same time. I hope there is a safe way for baseball to return. ... I expect to make a full recovery and be back. There's no doubt in my mind."