Lowell, Sox join MLB with pink tribute

Lowell, Sox join MLB with pink tribute

BOSTON -- Mike Lowell doesn't need any reminders as to the importance of cancer awareness. For a man who battled -- and defeated -- the disease back in his second Major League season, wielding a pink bat on Sunday night was about much more than making a fashion statement.

Mother's Day

The Red Sox's third baseman was among several Boston players who used the bats during the team's 4-3 victory over the Rays at Fenway Park, a group that included Jason Bay, J.D. Drew and David Ortiz.

"I think everyone's been affected by cancer indirectly or directly," said Lowell, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in February 1999 and missed almost two months of that season while undergoing treatment. "I think Major League Baseball's doing a great job of bringing awareness. Hopefully through all this we'll raise some good money, and maybe in the future we can find something that can really help people."

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, which raises awareness about breast cancer and directs proceeds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Fans play the next big role in this process, as attention will now move to the MLB.com Auction and the gradual arrival of game-used pink bats, home plates, 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.

Sunday night was a particularly special evening for Dorothy Mucciarone, a breast cancer survivor who was honored during pregame ceremonies after being chosen by Major League Baseball as the Red Sox's Honorary Bat Girl.

A native of Walpole, Mass., Mucciarone was selected as part of an initiative to recognize incredible baseball fans who have "Gone to Bat Against Breast Cancer" in their daily lives. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2006, and chose to undergo a mastectomy and subsequent chemotherapy. After completing chemotherapy in February 2007, she eventually beat the disease and is now cancer free.

Mucciarone and her sister, Peggy, both battled breast cancer, but Peggy tragically lost her fight last year. Dorothy said she drew inspiration from watching Red Sox players who conquered cancer, such as Jon Lester and Lowell. She said they showed her that "cancer can be just a speed bump on the road of life, and life can be brighter and happier on the other side of cancer."

A change of color did nothing to slow the bats of Bay and Lowell on Sunday, as Boston's top two run producers chipped in with three hits to help the Sox take a series from the Rays for the first time since June 3-5, 2008.

"My mom would have busted my chops if I didn't [use the pink bat]," Bay joked. "She'd want to know why I didn't use it and everyone else did. It's for a good cause. To be honest, I haven't had the best of luck with the pink bats. But I got a hit in my first at-bat, so it bought it some extra time. I'm married and I have two little girls, so it means a little more to me."

John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.