Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Atlanta Braves
news

Braves Team News

Foltynewicz recalls Coach Mom on Mother's Day

Gausman drops appeal, will begin serving 5-game suspension
@JakeDRill
May 12, 2019

PHOENIX -- Mike Foltynewicz wouldn’t be an All-Star Major League pitcher if it weren't for his mom, Cindy. The Braves right-hander got support from both his parents while playing Little League and growing up in Minooka, Ill., about an hour outside of Chicago. However, it was Foltynewicz’s mom who coached

PHOENIX -- Mike Foltynewicz wouldn’t be an All-Star Major League pitcher if it weren't for his mom, Cindy.

The Braves right-hander got support from both his parents while playing Little League and growing up in Minooka, Ill., about an hour outside of Chicago. However, it was Foltynewicz’s mom who coached his teams, including in the early coach-pitch days.

“She was out there beaning me a couple times,” Foltynewicz said with a laugh. “She was out there getting the fields ready before the games and helping rake. If it was a rain delay or something, she’d be helping, getting the dirt out. She worked at a farm and supply company, too, so she’d always get the good dirt, always help out all the baseball fields. My dad was just the guy who went out to right field, coached from right field, and my mom, she got her nose dirty.”

Foltynewicz said it’s been special for his mom to see her only child pitch in the big leagues.

“Any chance they get, they’re always coming out to see me,” he said.

While Foltynewicz watched this year’s Braves Mother’s Day game from the visiting dugout at Chase Field, he’s had the opportunity to pitch in front of his mom on the holiday in the past. On Mother’s Day in 2016, with his mom in the stands, Foltynewicz pitched seven innings of two-run ball, striking out eight, in a strong showing against the D-backs at Turner Field.

“It’s very special when we’re older like this, at the top of our profession, get to go out there for her,” Foltynewicz said. “It’s pretty special just to see her out there at games. We don’t see our family that much, and on that day, it’s just pretty special.”

Like past years, MLB players used pink bats and donned pink gear during Sunday’s games. For Foltynewicz, it brought back those memories of playing baseball on past Mother’s Days.

“On Mother’s Day, traveling to the next state over or something like that, when you were younger,” Foltynewicz said. “When I think baseball, she really pushed me to play when I was younger, and I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her. It’s really special to play on Mother’s Day.”

Mother’s Day also marked the return of the Honorary Bat Girl program around MLB, an initiative that began in 2009. Each of the 30 clubs selected a representative based on: personal connection to breast cancer, demonstration of commitment to the battle through education, awareness, fundraising or additional efforts and awareness; and demonstration of substantial local community impact.

Because the Braves were at Arizona for Mother’s Day, their Honorary Bat Girl, Amanda Riggins, a 34-year-old mother of three, will be honored at an upcoming game at SunTrust Park. Riggins, a registered nurse at Tanner Medical Center, was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer last October and found out a month ago that she is now cancer free.

Freeman scratched

First baseman Freddie Freeman (head cold) was scratched from the lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the D-backs at Chase Field. He had started all 40 of the Braves’ previous games this season at first.

"When he came in, he was ready to go," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He just got progressively worse as the morning went on, and then he came in and my God, he looked terrible and he couldn't breathe. You worry about him seeing, going in the batter's box with his eyes swollen up and everything."

Charlie Culberson made his first start at first base since 2014. Since the start of 2018, he had played seven innings at first over three games for Atlanta.

Gausman drops suspension appeal

Right-hander Kevin Gausman dropped the appeal of his five-game suspension on Sunday and began serving it for the series finale against the D-backs. He will miss the Braves’ three-game series against the Cardinals, which begins Tuesday, and Friday’s opener against the Brewers.

That means Gausman should return to the mound later in the series vs. Milwaukee, likely on Saturday. With an off-day Monday, Atlanta shouldn’t need to add another starter as Max Fried could pitch on regular rest and take Gausman’s turn on Friday.

Gausman was ejected in the second inning of his May 3 start when he threw at Marlins pitcher Jose Urena. He returned three days later and struggled against the Dodgers. But he had a strong showing on Saturday against the D-backs, pitching six innings of one-run ball and notching his second win of the season, his first since his season debut on April 5.

Jake Rill is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JakeDRill.