Butler's pink gear a nod to late grandmother

Rockies starter keeps her in mind during Mother's Day start

May 9th, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was easy for Rockies right-hander Eddie Butler to imagine his late grandmother, Shirley Siros, recording his pitch count. Maybe that's exactly what she was doing from her special place -- free of the pain of a battle with breast cancer, and away from the agony of the disease that took her life in January 2014, pulmonary fibrosis that her doctors believe the breast cancer wrought.

Resplendent in the pink accents that the Rockies and all MLB teams wore on Mother's Day to promote breast cancer awareness, Butler struck out a career-high six in six scoreless innings to lead a 2-0 victory over the Giants on Sunday.

"She kept books of my pitch count, every time I threw a baseball," Butler said. "She knew every pitch. She knew everything. She was the best stat-keeper ever in baseball. She was always there. We could talk about it if I did a good job, and if I didn't she always had a feel for it. She knew when to bring it up.

"She road tripped everywhere. I think she missed three college games. Two of them were on my birthday where she was like, 'Here, have time with your family. I see you enough.' My family didn't come out as much."

Butler, 25, recalls his grandmother loved more games than just baseball.

"She lived about 10 minutes down the road from where I lived," said Butler, who's from Chesapeake, Va. "We spent a lot of time at her house, played a lot of Yahtzee and Tripoli, all kinds of board games. That's where my love of playing games came from."

Butler said he was in middle school when his grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, but that never slowed her support.

"She followed me everywhere," Butler said. "She wanted to make the journey with me. I wish she could have been here. I wish she could've seen me in my debut [June 6, 2014] and all that. But she's in a better place. She was not in a good spot her last year.

"They think that the chemo and radiation [to treat the breast cancer] is what caused the pulmonary fibrosis. That's pretty much the hardening of the muscle of the lungs. Literally, the lungs wouldn't breathe for you."

Sunday was Butler's third appearance and second start since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque. His first start, he retired the first 11 Padres, then gave up two home runs and eventually lost. This time, Butler overcame a scattershot early going and didn't let a runner reach second his final four innings.

And he felt he looked good doing it.

For many players, the Mother's Day look is a fashion departure. Not for Butler.

"I've worn pink all the time; I'm not sure it was so much for breast cancer awareness," Butler said. "Sometimes people looked at me strange. What do I care?

"I loved the uniform. I wanted to buy it."

Well, he may have competition.

Authentic game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats and other gear from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively at MLB.com, with proceeds benefiting the fight against breast cancer. The complete Mother's Day collection -- which includes the special caps and jerseys being worn by players on Sunday -- is available at the MLB.com Shop.

"I may look at buying my uniform in auction," Butler said. "But we'll see.

"For Mother's Day? You've got to wear pink."