Yanks prep pink bats for Mother's Day
Mientkiewicz among those planning to raise cancer awareness
NEW YORK -- Johnny Damon stood in a corner of the Yankees clubhouse near the equipment closet on Tuesday. He examined several of chunks of lumber, looking at them up and down from the barrel to the handle, and he finally chose two that he would use against the Rangers.
On Sunday, however, Damon won't have any trouble deciding which bats he'll use. In fact, he chose them long before the game will take place. He's one of 10 Yankees tentatively expected to use a pink bat for Mother's Day.
A number of Major League players will help raise awareness for breast cancer on Sunday, Mother's Day, by using pink Louisville Slugger bats. To date, more than 200 players have signed up to use a pink bat, which is more than twice the participation in 2006. Select game-used bats, as well as team-autographed bats from every club, will be auctioned on MLB.com at a later date, with proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Fans can also purchase their own personalized pink bat at MLB.com, or www.slugger.com, with Major League Baseball donating $10 from the sale of each bat to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Probably no one on the Yankees roster appreciates the pink bats more than Doug Mientkiewicz, whose mother and wife are breast cancer survivors. That's why Sunday will be extra special for the Yankees first baseman.
When Mientkiewicz steps into the batter's box with the pink lumber in his hands, his mother, Janice, will be in Seattle to see it all. Mientkiewicz had "MOM" stitched on all of his first baseman's gloves last year, and when his mother saw it as the television cameras zoomed in, she cried.
"I put it on my glove for a reason, and she battled through breast cancer," Mientkiewicz said. "Last year was a pretty trying year for our family and her, so it's a way to let her know that I'm thinking about her, and that she's my strength, and that she always will be.
"My mom is a reason why I'm still playing. She loves to watch her son play. There were times I wanted to hang my cleats up, but she wouldn't let me. She keeps me going and keeps on pushing. My family is very close. She's a big part of my life, a big part of my world. So any chance I get to let her know I'm thinking about her, it's a good thing."
Mientkiewicz said that his mother is strong-willed, a fighter and that she gives solid advice. Mientkiewicz said that he always calls his mom when he's having trouble on or off the baseball diamond and that he receives plenty of e-mails from her.
Last year, Mientkiewicz hit a home run on Father's Day but came up short on Mother's Day. He said that on Mother's Day, he hopes to even things out.
"I'll always be a momma's boy," Mientkiewicz said.
Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.