PHOENIX -- A family history of colon cancer led Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez to have a colonoscopy during the offseason, and it turned into a wise preventative measure.
Ramirez, 35, reported to Maryvale Baseball Park in time for the Brewers' first full-squad workout on Saturday but will not be quite ready to play when Cactus League games begin next week. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in early January to remove a non-malignant polyp.
"I just wanted to do it because my dad died of colon cancer," said Ramirez, whose father, Victor, was 61 when he passed away. "I wanted to get checked out because usually it's a family thing. Sure enough, I didn't have cancer, but I had a polyp."
Ramirez and his doctors knew right away the growth was benign. He had the surgery in Miami and was told to expect an eight-week recovery.
"I don't know how many [Spring Training] games I'll miss," Ramirez said. "Hopefully it's not many."
The experience was scary, he said, "because I never had surgery before. That was my first one and hopefully my last one."
Ramirez was able to take part in batting practice Saturday and said he can field grounders and run the bases, but he will play it safe until he feels 100 percent. The sprained left knee that limited him to 92 games in 2013 was fully healed long before Ramirez had his colon surgery.
He is entering the final guaranteed season of his three-year contract with the Brewers. The deal includes a mutual option for 2015.
"I can't wait to get back," Ramirez said. "Last year was a tough year, as you guys know. I didn't play much -- 90, 91, 92 games. That's not what I get paid for. I should be out there at least 140, 145, 150 games. Hopefully I can do that this year.
"It's hard to play when you're not 100 percent. When you're playing on one leg, it's a lot harder. Like I say, if I'm healthy, everything should be OK."