Burriss among proud pink batsmen

Burriss among proud pink batsmen

LOS ANGELES -- Hours before he took his pink bat to the plate in the second inning of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Giants second baseman Emmanuel Burriss demonstrated the sentiment that prompted hundreds of Major Leaguers to use the bats in the first place.

Burriss telephoned numerous female relatives -- his mother, Denise, as well as his grandmother, aunts and sisters -- not only to convey Mother's Day wishes but mostly to express appreciation.

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Pink bats have become annual Mother's Day symbols as part of an overall "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative by Major League Baseball that raises awareness about breast cancer and directs proceeds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Fans play the next big role in this process, because attention will move now to the MLB.com Auction and the gradual arrival of game-used pink bats, home plates and logo bases and lineup cards. Fans also can purchase their own personalized "Mother's Day 2009" pink bats right now for $79.99 apiece at the MLB.com Shop, with $10 from the sale of each one going to Komen.

For Burriss, observing this day was not just one of the many obligations that ensnare big leaguers. He has lingering memories of an aunt, Diane Adams, who died of breast cancer about a year and a half ago.

"It means a lot because of the women in my life," Burriss said. "Being a male athlete, you get a lot of recognition. Sometimes the women in your life don't really get that recognition. It means a lot to show them at least one day of support."

Burriss, who collected a career-high four hits in the Giants' 7-5, 13-inning victory, used his pink bat for his initial plate appearance in the second inning. He didn't get a hit, but his grounder that Dodgers right-hander Jeff Weaver fielded between the pitcher's mound and third base functioned as a swinging bunt that advanced Aaron Rowand and Randy Winn to second and third base, respectively.

"I'm proud to use the pink bat," Burriss said. Referring to his loved ones, he added, "I wish I had some more so I could mail them all back to them."

Rowand used his pink bat to record the Giants' first hit, a second-inning bunt single that helped generate two runs. The center field felt compelled to try to focus attention on the issue of breast cancer, saying, "I'm sure everybody knows somebody who has been affected by it."

That would include Rowand, whose grandmother, Joan, is a breast cancer survivor.

"Luckily they caught it early enough," he said.

Right-hander Tim Lincecum, who struck out eight batters in six innings Sunday and emerged with no decision, employed a variation of the pink-bat theme by wearing custom-made spikes with pink piping.

Other Giants using pink bats included Fred Lewis, Bengie Molina, Travis Ishikawa and Pablo Sandoval.

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