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Marlins raise awareness for breast cancer

Honorary Bat Girl Mayra Lima is recognized; players pay tribute to loved ones
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Mother's Day has always been a day of celebration, and around Major League Baseball on Sunday, it also is a time to raise awareness for the battle against breast cancer.

At Marlins Park, Miami took part in the league-wide "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative. 

View Full Game Coverage

MIAMI -- Mother's Day has always been a day of celebration, and around Major League Baseball on Sunday, it also is a time to raise awareness for the battle against breast cancer.

At Marlins Park, Miami took part in the league-wide "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative. 

View Full Game Coverage

For the day, the Marlins recognized Mayra Lima, a breast cancer survivor, as their Honorary Bat Girl.

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"It's so awesome," Lima said. "It's totally unbelievable, this is such a big experience in my life. I've never been selected for any such thing prior to this. I'm excited that Major League Baseball and the Marlins are thinking about breast cancer."

A resident of Pembroke Pines in Broward County, Fla., Lima was diagnosed with the disease in 2004. On Sunday, she participated in a pregame ceremony prior to the Marlins facing the Braves at Marlins Park.

Video: ATL@MIA: Bour, Wittgren, Brinson honor Mother's Day

"I think it's great that we're able to bring awareness," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "A lot of sports do it now, but it's growing, in terms of awareness."

The color pink was prominently displayed at the ballpark, with some players using pink bats, and the rest wearing pink wrist bands, shoes and caps.

"It touches everyone," Lima said.

Tweet from @Marlins: It was an honor having Mayra Lima as our Honorary Bat Girl today. Your courage and strength is undeniable! #MothersDay | #JuntosMiami pic.twitter.com/ca5TlvHEii

Louisville Slugger is donating proceeds from the sales of their pink bats to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. Each bat is stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. MLB also will donate its licensed uniform royalties through Mother's Day apparel to the same cause. Also as part of the pregame ceremony, the Marlins donated $10,000 to Sylvester Cancer.

A registered nurse for 30 years, Lima is using her platform as Honorary Bat Girl to tell her story and remind those of how impactful the disease is.

"I am honored to have been selected," she said. "I am a breast cancer survivor."

Also taking part in the pregame ceremony was Marlins reliever Nick Wittgren, whose mother, Lisa, is a breast cancer survivor. Wittgren's grandmother, who passed away from lung cancer in 2016, also dealt with breast cancer.

"It runs in my family," Wittgren said. "Everyone out there supporting it. If there's anything we can do to help out with it, it's much appreciated."

To Wittgren, the cause touches home, and in 2016, he presented his mother with a gift after the season.

That year, the pink shoes, jersey and cap he wore on Mother's Day were put into a display that Wittgren personally delivered to his mother after the season.

"I told [the team], anything with breast cancer, I'll gladly, always help out on, no matter what," Wittgren said.

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

Wearing pink also hits home for Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas, whose mother, Norma, is a two-time breast cancer survivor who lives in Venezuela.

"This is a special day for me to thank her for everything," Rojas said. "I'm really proud of her."

Rojas was one of the Marlins to use the pink-colored bat for the day. On his cleats, he wrote his mother's name.

"It is a special day for me, and that's one of the reasons why I don't take anything for granted," Rojas said. "It's special to wear the pink stuff."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Miguel Rojas, Nick Wittgren