HOUSTON -- For the 13th consecutive season, players will support MLB's "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative by using special pink bats on Mother's Day, encouraging women to undergo breast cancer screenings and promoting support for their fight against breast cancer.The initiative, which was created by Louisville Slugger, will
HOUSTON -- For the 13th consecutive season, players will support MLB's "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative by using special pink bats on Mother's Day, encouraging women to undergo breast cancer screenings and promoting support for their fight against breast cancer.
The initiative, which was created by Louisville Slugger, will feature MLB's breast cancer ribbon on the customized bats, fitted for hundreds of Major League players. Since 2006, Louisville Slugger has donated more than 3,500 custom pink bats -- more than $300,000 worth of product -- for players to use on Mother's Day. From each sale of a customized pink bat, $10 will be donated to MLB Charities in support of fighting breast cancer.
All 30 clubs have an Honorary Bat Girl who is a breast cancer survivor, including the Astros' Fran Linton. For the first time since the Honorary Bat Girl program started in 2009, teams had the opportunity to hand-select their honoree.
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Linton, who threw out the first pitch before the Astros' Sunday contest against the Rangers with her name on the back of a customized jersey, was recognized during the pregame ceremony for her effort to raise money and help spread awareness to fight the disease.
"Oh yeah, it's not something that I ever thought I would do," Linton said. "Not anything that I ever thought I would do. But it's a good thing. It brings awareness to breast cancer and to what we do ... Anything that brings awareness is a good thing."
Linton's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1950s and was the "human test" for a new breast cancer medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in the '60s. Her mother died in '67, but her legacy of strength helped Linton fight through the disease when she was diagnosed 22 years ago in '96.
For center fielder Derek Fisher, whom the Astros called up last June, this was his first opportunity to swing one of the special bats and experience a pinked-out Mother's Day in the big leagues.
A handful of Astros, including Sunday's starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel and third baseman Alex Bregman, who caught ceremonial a first pitch thrown by his mom before the game. With Keuchel starting, Justin Verlander caught his mom's first pitch.
"[It means] everything," Fisher said. "It's awesome. This is my first time I've played on Mother's Day in the big leagues. Last year, I was here on Father's Day and Father's Day weekend, and that was awesome. This is obviously special."
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.