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'Mom, this is for you': Inciarte makes HR a gift

Club to recognize Honorary Bat Girl Paige Harris later this month
MLB.com @mlbbowman

MIAMI -- Ender Inciarte took the superstitious approach by not saying anything. But he delivered with his wish to provide his mother something to enjoy on Mother's Day. Inciarte added to the significance of the special day when he aided Sunday's 4-3 win over the Marlins with a two-run homer in the sixth against Jose Urena. The Braves center fielder waited until after the game to reveal his wish.

"I didn't want to jinx it, so I didn't say anything," Inciarte said. "But I was thinking about it. It's still Mother's Day, so I can give her this gift. She's watching the games and paying attention. So it's good for me to say, 'Mom, this is for you.' My grandmother is with her now. So, they were both watching the game."

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MIAMI -- Ender Inciarte took the superstitious approach by not saying anything. But he delivered with his wish to provide his mother something to enjoy on Mother's Day. Inciarte added to the significance of the special day when he aided Sunday's 4-3 win over the Marlins with a two-run homer in the sixth against Jose Urena. The Braves center fielder waited until after the game to reveal his wish.

"I didn't want to jinx it, so I didn't say anything," Inciarte said. "But I was thinking about it. It's still Mother's Day, so I can give her this gift. She's watching the games and paying attention. So it's good for me to say, 'Mom, this is for you.' My grandmother is with her now. So, they were both watching the game."

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Inciarte was among the many Major Leaguers who spent Sunday celebrating Mother's Day by wearing various pink items and using pink bats.

"It means a lot to everybody because I know at some point everybody went through something with family and friends," Inciarte said. "We play for those people."

Inciarte lost one aunt to breast cancer eight years ago in their native Venezuela. One of his mother's other sisters survived this disease, which will affect more than 240,000 women and lead to approximately 40,000 deaths in the United States alone this year, according to Susan G. Komen.

Video: ATL@MIA: Braves players pay tribute Mothers' Day

 • Buy Braves Mother's Day gear

Dating back to 2006, Major League Baseball has annually celebrated Mother's Day by extending the fight against breast cancer. Players use pink bats, wear pink wristbands and don pink spikes while participating in the "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative. MLB will again donate its licensed uniform royalties through Mother's Day apparel to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. Louisville Slugger, the official bat of Major League Baseball, will donate proceeds from the sale of their pink bats, which will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to both of those same foundations.

Video: MLB players' pink Louisville Slugger bats ready to go

As Dan Winkler prepared for Sunday's game, his thoughts were with his wife's late grandmother, Helen Thale, who lost her breast cancer battle in 2011, the same week the reliever was drafted and prepared to begin his professional career with the Rockies.

"She was the sweetest lady ever," Winkler said. "Whenever you walked into a room, she always had to give everybody a hug. It was hard losing her to breast cancer."

Because the Braves were not at home on Sunday, they will recognize their Honorary Bat Girl, Paige Harris, by welcoming her and her family to a game at SunTrust Park later this month. Harris will receive pink MLB merchandise and be recognized during a pregame ceremony.

Harris was diagnosed with breast cancer on Oct. 4 and immediately drew upon the experience of her mother, who battled the same illness. The Cobb County resident began chemo in October and underwent surgery in March. As she went through this span, she continued to fulfill the duties that earned her the honor of being voted Pine Mountain Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2017-18.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Ender Inciarte, Dan Winkler