Notes: Special day for Mientkiewicz
Family history urges first baseman to pitch cancer awareness
SEATTLE -- The Yankees received their deliveries from the Louisville Slugger company this weekend, comparing special pink bats in honor of Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness, while pretty much unanimously agreeing that the idea was a good one.
Doug Mientkiewicz was among them, but he didn't need a special day on his calendar to be reminded of how important the Major League Baseball-wide promotion was.
Mientkiewicz's mother, Janice, is a breast cancer survivor, while his wife, Jodi, battled cervical cancer in 2005 during her pregnancy with the couple's son, Steel.
That makes awareness programs like Sunday's carry extra meaning for Mientkiewicz, who said he'd been active with the Parker Hughes Cancer Society in Minnesota even before his immediate family was stricken.
"You start hearing about more and more people who have it, and you realize how common it is," Mientkiewicz said. "Anything we can do as players to create awareness, it's a good thing. If we can get one more mother to the doctor, then we've done our job."
The glove he wears defensively has the letters "MOM" stitched in large block type, an action he's taken since April 2006. Then, it was in honor of her ongoing fight; now, it serves as a constant reminder of what is really important in his life, regardless of hitting streaks or slumps.
"I'll always be a momma's boy," Mientkiewicz said.
With the Royals last season, Mientkiewicz said he snuck one of the pink bats out of the clubhouse and delivered it to his mother, who he said has been cancer-free for over a year.
Mientkiewicz said that the most difficult part of his mother's battle with cancer had been missing the birth of Steel, who is coming up on his second birthday and has popped up in the Yankees clubhouse during the season's early going.
Mientkiewicz, who saw a nine-game hitting streak snapped when he popped out as a pinch-hitter on Friday, was not in the Yankees lineup on Sunday, resting as the Mariners sent left-hander Horacio Ramirez to the mound.
Mientkiewicz said he'd enjoy the chance to make up for an 0-for-4 game he delivered last Mother's Day against the Orioles, and perhaps even the score a little bit in his household -- after taking a collar on Mom's day, Mientkiewicz hit a home run for the Royals on Father's Day.
Other than Mientkiewicz, nine other Yankees are taking part in the pink bat promotion: Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Wil Nieves, Josh Phelps, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez.
Heading home: Yankees manager Joe Torre said that he would return to New York during the team's off-day on Monday, visiting with his ailing brother, Frank.
Torre, 75, is resting at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan, following complications after having a kidney transplant performed earlier this month. The Yankees manager said that his older brother has plenty of family by his side, including Torre's wife, Ali.
"He's being taken care of," Torre said. "He's got good days and bad days. It's going to be a long process."
Pretty in pink: Most of the Yankees slipped on pink wristbands before Sunday's game against the Mariners, but reliever Mike Myers took his fashion choices a step further.
Myers was shipped a pink fielder's glove by the Akadema glove company -- a color-altered version of his usual model, an ABF4, which he planned to wear for one game. Myers said he would then have the entire pitching staff sign the glove, which he will have auctioned off for charity.
"It's broken in pretty good already," Myers said. "I don't like using those pancake gloves, anyway."
Dads, fear not. Myers has also ordered a blue glove for Father's Day.
Walk this way: The most telling aspect of outfielder Bobby Abreu's plate struggles is reflected in the fact that his usually patient approach has gone missing in action.
Abreu, who has two hits in his last 19 at-bats, entered Sunday's game without having drawn a walk in his last 60 plate appearances, the longest stretch of his career. He worked 124 free passes last season between his service for the Phillies and Yankees.
"That's when you know that he's not comfortable," said Torre, who also believes that Abreu's confidence has taken a hit with this dry spell.
After grounding out to second base in the first inning on Sunday, Abreu drew a five-pitch walk in the fourth inning.
In the seats: If you had a field-level seat behind home plate for Saturday's game at Safeco Field, you might have been neighbors with Scott Proctor.
The Yankees reliever served the first game of his four-game suspension by watching the contest with the fans, accompanied by Yankees special pitching instructor Rich Monteleone.
"It's been a long time," Proctor said. "Hopefully I don't have to do it again for a long time."
Proctor left Seattle on Saturday, flying home to New York. He'll rejoin the team in Chicago and will be available for pitching duty on Thursday.
Meet the Mets: The Yankees have announced that right-hander Darrell Rasner will start next Saturday's contest against the Mets at Shea Stadium. Until then, Rasner will be available in long relief.
Andy Pettitte will start the series opener on Friday night, and Mike Mussina is scheduled to pitch the finale on Sunday.
Coming up: Following Monday's off-day, the Yankees will resume their nine-game road trip on Tuesday in Chicago by sending Mussina (2-1, 4.76 ERA) to the hill at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox will counter with left-hander John Danks (1-4, 4.33 ERA), with first pitch set for 8:11 p.m. ET on the YES Network.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.