NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former big league outfielder Billy Bean, Major League Baseball's senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

MLB launched its winter meetings charity auction, which benefits Stand Up To Cancer, on Monday in honor of Bean and Catalina Villegas, MLB’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion. She was diagnosed in March with breast cancer and appeared at a news conference promoting the auction.

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, a friend of Bean since summer ball in 1984, had to repeatedly stop to compose himself as he spoke during the news conference.

“I know that it’s very hard for you right now, Billy, and it’s our turn to take care of you,” Lovullo said. “You have been the ultimate giver since the day that I’ve known you. So even though I know it’s going to be very tough for you, it’s time for you to sit down and let us love you up and take care of you.”

Bean spoke in a recorded video and said he received the diagnosis on Sept. 1 but didn't want to tell Lovullo during the late stages of the season as the Diamondbacks advanced to the World Series.

"Like most players, I am very superstitious, so I didn’t want to bother Torey with my diagnosis because they were winning," Bean said. “There would be time to tell him later.”

Bean, 59, played for Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego, appearing in six big league seasons from 1987-95. He publicly came out as gay in 1999, the second major leaguer to do so after Glenn Burke.

The auction runs until 10 p.m. EST Thursday and includes meet and greets with Mike Trout, Zac Gallen, Corbin Carroll, Geraldo Perdomo and Brandon Nimmo, lunch for eight with Cole Hamels in the executive dining room at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, a youth hitting lesson with Darnell Coles, on-field catch with Nolan Jones, watching a game with Mets owner Steve Cohen, broadcasting two innings of a Tampa Bay Rays game and throwing out ceremonial first pitches at Guaranteed Rate Field, Progressive Field, Comerica Park, Kauffman Stadium and Angel Stadium.

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