Freddie Freeman opens up about COVID-19 fight, says he prayed “Please don’t take me”

ATLANTA — Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman opened up Saturday about his personal fight with COVID-19 and the physical and mental toil it took on him.

Freeman originally had a negative result during intake testing by the team. But Freeman and three other Braves players later tested positive for the virus on July 3.

Pete Kozma also showed symptoms while Touki Touissaint and Will Smith were asymptomatic.

Freeman detailed Saturday how he felt “completely fine” when July 3 started before the virus hit him like a ton of bricks around 2 p.m.

The Braves All-Star said he had body aches, chills and a high-grade fever by Friday night.

“That was the scariest night for me. I spiked to 104.5 fever,” Freeman said. “I said a little prayer that night. I’ve never been that hot before. My body was really, really hot. So I said ‘Please don’t take me.' I wasn’t ready. It got a little worrisome for me that night.”

Freeman said he finally broke his fever two days later and the other symptoms started to subside throughout the week. He said he lost about one pound and lost his taste and smell for about four days.

“And to be honest, I rarely ever get sick. I can’t remember the last time I ever had a fever. So I really had nothing to compare it to. I just say it’s the coronavirus. I can’t compare it to the flu. I can’t compare it to a cold. I’ve never had a 104.5 fever before. It hit me hard.”

The Braves star said his family followed all safety precautions but the virus still found a way to infect him, wife Chelsea and his aunt.

Freeman reiterated how important it is to socially distance and wear a mask.

Freeman rejoined the team Friday after he had two negative COVID-19 tests, which is part of the team’s protocols. He said Saturday was his ninth day of no symptoms.

“Talking to a lot of other people, it was very surprising that I was able to test negative. I know a lot of other former teammates and friends who are farther along and symptom-free and still testing positive,” he said.

The Braves are supposed to have a few more intersquad games and an exhibition with the Miami Marlins this week before the season opens Friday.

“I feel like I’m a kid in a candy store again,” Freeman said about his return. “You forget sometimes how much you love this game. I did truly miss it. I was so excited when I got to the yard.”