Yelich uses pink bat to homer in front of mom in SD
SoCal native among Marlins to sport Mother's Day gear for breast cancer awareness
SAN DIEGO -- Moms everywhere were on the Marlins' minds on Sunday as Miami wrapped up its four-game set against the Padres at Petco Park.
In honor of Mother's Day, MLB has continued its tradition of allowing players to use pink bats to raise awareness in the battle against breast cancer.
Christian Yelich, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., used the pink bat and collected two hits, including a home run, in Miami's 5-4 loss to the Padres. The blast to center field came with the 22-year-old's mother in attendance.
"Obviously, that's pretty cool," Yelich said. "That's the first homer they've seen me hit in the big leagues. It's got to be cool for them. I wish we would have won. That would have been a lot cooler. I'm sure they enjoyed that. I'm glad I could do it on Mother's Day."
Yelich plans on giving his mom the game-used bat, as well as his cleats, which flashed pink, the color of the day.
For the Miami players, the day also allowed them to give thanks to the women who are such big parts of their lives.
"It's cool," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "My mom, for what she's done for me, the sacrifices she and my dad have made. This day represents all they do."
A South Florida native and resident of Wellington in Palm Beach County, Saltalamacchia is now able to play in the big leagues close to home. A member of the 2013 Red Sox World Series championship team, the 29-year-old catcher signed a three-year deal with Miami.
Saltalamacchia, a father of three, purchased Marlins season tickets for his parents and his wife.
"It's been great to have my mom, my wife and everybody there," the catcher said. "They're at almost every game."
Saltalamacchia's family, like millions of others, has been impacted by breast cancer.
"I know how tough it is to be a mother, and to represent them is great," he said.
Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who defected from Cuba at age 15, credits his mother for doing so much in his life. The 21-year-old makes Tampa, Fla., his home, and his mother also lives there.
"My mom has been there for a lot of things," Fernandez said. "She's been amazing, and I'm glad to have a good one."
Throughout the league on Sunday, MLB players used pink bats and recognized Honorary Bat Girls.
Miami's 2014 Honorary Bat Girl is Beth Armstrong, who has been battling breast cancer for three years. She is on a crusade to not only beat the disease but to help others in their fights. She's been active in fund raising for the yearly Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and she is an organizer for the FPL/Turkey Point team for the 2014 Homestead Relay for Life.
The Marlins will pay tribute to Armstrong on May 25 against the Brewers in the club's first Sunday home game back at Marlins Park.