SARASOTA, Fla. - When spring training began, some may have assumed that Cedric Mullins would the Orioles’ opening day starter in center field. But Mullins said today that he was not thinking that way. He felt like he’s been fighting for a roster spot since the first day.
“I felt like that coming in,” he said. “I had my time when I played center every day last year. I had my ups and my downs. You come in and just try to make a strong impression, whether it is offensively or defensively or both in the same day. That is what I’m trying to do.”
Mullins started as the leadoff hitter today - but in left field with Austin Hays in center. After going 2-for-2 in the first game of spring, Mullins had just two hits his last 27 at-bats and began today hitting .138. But he led off the first with a homer to right for his second of the spring. He went 1-for-4 in the first six innings against the Minnesota Twins.
“As a whole, I’d say (my spring has been) pretty good. I’m having some really good at-bats,” he said. “The results are what they are. As long as I’m putting the ball in play, that tells me I’m seeing the ball well. Thinking of the negative can hinder performance. You just have to control what you can control. Just continue to work hard and the work you put in won’t go unnoticed.”
Mullins can bring some speed and defense to the team, too. The coaches notice all aspects of someone’s play.
“Absolutely,” Mullins said. “We’ve been told that defense is going to be a thing that we’re known for. He’s going to put the best defensive team out there and I’m trying to make the most of my opportunity.”
Mullins is one of a group of young outfielders that has been showing off some skills and tools in this camp.
“You know, we pick each other up every day and it’s awesome to see them having success. Regardless of what their year might have looked like the year before or previous years. I feed off that energy,” he said.
Mullins was asked if he might have an edge in the outfield competition because he played in the majors last year.
“My time in the bigs last year taught me a lot,” he said. “Knowing I would have to come in and battle for a spot, that just fueled the fire. Just going out and showing what I can do.”
Mullins felt he could make some quick adjustments today when he was in left field and not center. As for his batting average, now at .152, he said those at-bats he’s been having tell him he’s doing OK with 12 spring training games to go.
“I don’t feel like I need the results to show that I’m having quality at-bats,” he said.