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'LA Swiftness' honors mother with special patch

Outfielder Adams reflects on his journey to the bigs
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- As Braves outfielder Lane Adams proudly wears "Mom" on the tribute patch that adorns the sleeve of his jersey during Players Weekend, he pays tribute to the woman who essentially would not allow him to extend his love for basketball at the expense of continuing to play baseball.

When Adams was returning from a basketball tournament during his sophomore year of high school in rural Oklahoma, he told his mother he wanted to quit baseball to focus on basketball. The two discussed it before Adams was given an ultimatum: Either continue playing baseball or get a job at the local Sonic.

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ATLANTA -- As Braves outfielder Lane Adams proudly wears "Mom" on the tribute patch that adorns the sleeve of his jersey during Players Weekend, he pays tribute to the woman who essentially would not allow him to extend his love for basketball at the expense of continuing to play baseball.

When Adams was returning from a basketball tournament during his sophomore year of high school in rural Oklahoma, he told his mother he wanted to quit baseball to focus on basketball. The two discussed it before Adams was given an ultimatum: Either continue playing baseball or get a job at the local Sonic.

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Instead of flipping burgers, Adams stuck with baseball and was drafted by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He appeared in six games for Kansas City during the 2014 season before bouncing around as a Minor League journeyman.

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However, last season Adams found himself back in a similar situation. Adams was cut by the Trenton Thunder, a Yankees Double-A affiliate, in July 2016, and with few options available, he considered quitting baseball for good.

"I was contemplating what would happen if I would've taken that fall off," Adams said. "I didn't know what the plan was going to be."

Adams took a few days to talk it over with his family. Then he remembered an important life lesson his mom had always told him growing up.

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"I have always been told by my mom to give it all you got, even if it doesn't work out," Adams said. "She told me the biggest regret is looking back and wishing you could've done something different."

Before Adams closed the book on his MLB career, he decided to give baseball one more shot. He returned to finish out the 2016 season in the Cubs' system before joining the Braves this year.

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He didn't get an official invite to Spring Training, but played in 22 games toward the end of spring as the Braves added to their roster. He impressed the club enough to be assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett for the start of the 2017 season. Adams didn't stay in Triple-A long, however. He received a phone call on June 8 from Gwinnett manager Damon Berryhill, who told him he was being called up.

"It was exciting and I was kind of caught off-guard, as I wasn't expecting it early in the year," Adams said. "I was kind of shocked and emotional as I called my mom and girlfriend. It has been a whirlwind. From the highs and lows, you ride through the valleys so that you can enjoy the peaks."

Adams has enjoyed the peaks of this season. He's hitting .280 with one home run and 10 RBIs. Since the All-Star break, he has been inserted as the Braves' primary pinch-hitter and has batted .348 in 24 games.

"He always has his bat or his helmet ready to go," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It is very valuable having a piece like that, and he has weapons. You can put him in and he can steal second and find himself in a position to score." Adams has remained thankful that the Braves have given him the opportunity to play. He's also glad that his mom and family encouraged him along the way.

If you would've told me that I would be in this situation now, I don't know if I would've believed it," Adams said. "I am grateful that the Braves gave me the opportunity to be up here, and now I'm trying to take advantage every day."

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

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