LOS ANGELES -- Alfonso Soriano still looks at his phone every day and thinks about calling his mother, Andrea, who passed away in January. On Sunday, Mother's Day, he'll honor her memory by helping out children in his native Dominican Republic and Chicago.
The Alfonso Soriano Family Foundation is teaming up with the Cubs to host a day in honor of Andrea and support a project very dear to her, Mirqueya's Day Care, a school for children in need in their homeland. For the last four to five years, Soriano and his family have donated gifts to the children at the center on Jan. 6, which was Andrea's birthday.
"God blessed me with my talent, so why not give something back to the kids?" Soriano said Tuesday. "They need it. I grew up in that town and it makes me sad to see those kids. They don't have anything to play with, they don't have anything to eat."
On Sunday at Wrigley Field when the Cubs play the Reds, Soriano will host a group of children and their mothers from the Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) in the Chicago area.
Volunteers will also be on hand at each gate to collect donations, as well as distribute informational materials about the Alfonso Soriano Family Foundation and Mirqueya's Day Care. Funds collected at the game will benefit both children at the school in the Dominican Republic and the CAWC.
Soriano, 35, also will host a small reception in the United Club at Wrigley Field for invited guests to learn more about his foundation.
The day care center in the Dominican was started by Mirqueya Guzman in her native city of Quisqueya, where Soriano grew up. Guzman provides assistance to Quisqueya's most impoverished children through education, nutrition and spiritual guidance.
Soriano's mother raised him there, as well as his two brothers and older sister. She died in mid January of a heart attack.
"[Her passing] gives me more motivation," Soriano said. "My mother was my mother and father to me. She took care of the four kids by herself. It's motivation to do something for the little kids in the Dominican."
This will be a difficult Mother's Day, his first without her.
"I'll be sad because I don't have my mom with me," Soriano said, "but I'll be happy because I can do something for her."
The outfielder is off to his best start since joining the Cubs and entered Tuesday's game against the Dodgers leading the Major Leagues with 11 home runs. Give credit to Andrea. She's his strength.
"Always, my mom is with me," he said. "Before she passed away, she was with me all the time. I think about her every day. I look at my phone and think about calling her. Still. I have to live with it. I feel in my heart she's with me. It's like she never passed away. That's how I feel -- she's always with me."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.