GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The news that surfaced at Tigers' camp in Florida on Thursday morning already had reached the ears of many Cleveland players weeks ago. Adriana Aviles, the young daughter of former Indians infielder Mike Aviles, is cancer-free.Throughout last season, when Adriana battled leukemia, the Indians rallied around Aviles
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The news that surfaced at Tigers' camp in Florida on Thursday morning already had reached the ears of many Cleveland players weeks ago. Adriana Aviles, the young daughter of former Indians infielder Mike Aviles, is cancer-free.
Throughout last season, when Adriana battled leukemia, the Indians rallied around Aviles and his family, showing public support and behind the scenes. Aviles now plays for Detroit and revealed to reporters on Thursday that his daughter underwent a bone-marrow transplant in December and is doing well in her recovery.
• Aviles' daughter cancer-free after transplant
Indians manager Terry Francona heard the news over the offseason.
"I actually cried a little bit. Maybe I'm getting old -- I don't know," Francona said on Thursday. "It hit me hard, but good. I was really thrilled."
Closer Cody Allen, catcher Yan Gomes and pitcher Corey Kluber said they learned the news well before Thursday's development in Lakeland, Fla. Each of their wives had maintained contact with Aviles' wife over the winter to keep up with how Adriana and the whole family was doing.
Told that Aviles had shared the news on Thursday, Allen smiled.
"It's awesome," Allen said. "He handled it better than anybody ever could've expected. I can't imagine what he was going through with his family and to still be at the ballpark and perform the way he did, and being the teammate he is. And then, when we all heard that she was cancer-free, and her levels were good enough to do the transplant, that they had found a match and the marrow took, we were all just really, really relieved and extremely happy for Mike and his family."
Gomes, who has a young daughter of his own, said Adriana's twin sister, Maya, often would stay with his family when Aviles and his wife needed to take Adriana to chemotherapy last year.
"Whenever she came around, they were still just so happy, just being kids," Gomes said. "They always have huge smiles on their faces. That was one of the biggest things to take out of it. Throughout the tough times for them, cancer and everything, they still kept a smile on their faces. I think that plays a huge part in having hope and faith."
Last season, all of Aviles' teammates in Cleveland shaved their heads in support of Adriana, and members of the coaching staff and front office joined in, too. Aviles even shaved the head of Paul Dolan, the Indians' owner, before a game last summer. The team also staged a group photo, in which each person wore a bright orange shirt that read "Team Adriana" across the chest.
On Aug. 13 last season, Adriana and Maya also provided one of the moments of the year for the Tribe, throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Yankees in Cleveland.
"That was probably the most public moment," Kluber said. "But I think that there were numerous ones throughout the year [that stood out]. Whether it be the wives helping out or us talking to Mike and trying to be there for him. It really did show how closeknit the group is and that it really hit everybody and affected everybody. I think it was one of those things that, probably in an unfortunate way, helped pull everybody closer together."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.