Yanks go pink for cancer awareness

Yanks go pink for cancer awareness

SEATTLE -- If J.J. Putz's sizzling fastball doesn't capture your attention, the repeating strains of the AC/DC rock anthem "Thunderstruck" surely will.

It was little wonder, then, that Yankees first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz appealed for a little extra Mother's Day assistance in his ninth-inning at-bat against the Mariners closer.

Looking his pink Louisville Slugger up and down, Mientkiewicz recalled thinking, "Come on, Mom. Give me a little strength right here."

Even Mom couldn't save that battle, as Mientkiewicz struck out to end the Yankees' 2-1 defeat against the Mariners at Safeco Field. But even in the Yankees' loss, victories of Sunday's efforts came in the form of raising awareness and funds for breast cancer treatment and research.

In all, 10 Yankees pledged their participation to use pink Louisville Slugger bats in Sunday's game, helping to raise awareness for breast cancer. Select game-used bats, as well as team-autographed bats from every club, will be auctioned on MLB.com at a later date, with proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Fans can also purchase their own personalized pink bat at MLB.com, or www.slugger.com, with Major League Baseball donating $10 from the sale of each bat to benefit the Cure.

The event was meaningful for Yankees first baseman Josh Phelps, who had an aunt, Kathleen Cromquist, survive breast cancer in the early 1990s.

"It's for a good cause," Phelps said. "I looked forward to it, honestly. It was too bad that I broke mine in my first at-bat. I got a changeup off the end. I would have liked to have used it a little longer."

Johnny Damon paced the way for the Yankees' players who wielded pink bats on Sunday, stroking two hits in the game, but many of the batters opted to use the special lumber for only their first at-bat.

"Baseball is such a superstitious game," Phelps said. "I could see why most people went out there [with the pink bats] for the first one and then went back to their regular bat."

Damon, who was joined by teammates Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Mientkiewicz, Wil Nieves, Phelps, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez, said that the experience of standing in the batter's box with a pink bat was "special."

Mothers Day
Game goes to bat for breast cancer

"What makes it special is to be able to raise awareness and hopefully raise some money to help find a cure for breast cancer," Damon said. "It's something that everybody is affected by, some way, somehow.

"It's great what Major League Baseball is doing. If there's any other causes in the future we can help, I know the players are definitely willing to do it."

For the second straight year, Mientkiewicz plans to give his mom, Janice, a breast cancer survivor, one of the pink bats from Sunday's action -- a nice consolation prize, though a game-tying hit would have been preferred.

"[The hit] didn't work out," Mientkiewicz said. "Maybe I tried a little too hard for Mother's Day."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.