ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman was just 4 years old when his mother, Rosemary, was first diagnosed with melanoma. The skin cancer remained in remission for about five years, but in June 2000, Rosemary lost her battle with the disease.So when the Braves' first baseman noticed a mole on his back
ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman was just 4 years old when his mother, Rosemary, was first diagnosed with melanoma. The skin cancer remained in remission for about five years, but in June 2000, Rosemary lost her battle with the disease.
So when the Braves' first baseman noticed a mole on his back ahead of the All-Star break, he opted to have a dermatologist remove it on Tuesday during the four-day respite.
Three days later, Freeman learned the biopsy revealed cancerous cells in the mole.
"They said if I just take a picture of it and monitor it, it would be fine," Freeman said before Friday's 11-2 loss to the Rockies. "But I don't think they knew there were going to be abnormal cells in the mole. So I said, 'With my family's history, just cut it out right now.'"
Freeman received stitches in his back and rested for 48 hours before returning to Atlanta's lineup on Friday for the first game of the second half. Entering the break, he was batting .345 with four home runs in his past 15 games.
Sharing the same complexion as his mother, Freeman wears sleeves and sunglasses as protection from the sun and to lower his chances of developing melanoma. He has also partnered with multiple organizations to spread awareness about the disease.
But even with his strong efforts to take care of himself, the 26-year-old still knows he has to monitor his skin.
"It's what I'm going to have to do a lot during my lifetime," Freeman said. "I'd rather get them cut out now and deal with the pain for a couple of days, but other than that, I feel fine."
Freeman said his stitches won't be removed from his back until possibly next weekend, when the Braves visit Colorado. But as he sat in the clubhouse on Friday, the first baseman expressed his relief that he caught the mole early on and also joked that he hopes a pitcher doesn't plunk him.
"If you see blood on my shirt, don't freak out," Freeman said with a broad smile. "The stitches just came out. That's all."
Pat James is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.