Mathis delivers special gift on Mother's Day

Mathis delivers special gift on Mother's Day

ARLINGTON -- There was a moment in Sunday's game when Rangers reliever Doug Mathis had to step off the mound and compose himself.

Maybe it was the pink bats that Royals hitters were using against him at home plate or just the whole Mother's Day atmosphere.

But when your mother calls you the day before and tells you she is cancer-free on the seventh anniversary of being diagnosed with breast cancer, well ...

"My mother has been through a lot," Mathis said. "This is the day where everybody wears pink so it was hard to get her off my mind,"

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Mathis was able to deliver his mother, Jan, a special present on a day when Major League Baseball focuses on raising awareness for breast cancer.

Mathis pitched two scoreless innings and ended up being the winning pitcher in the Rangers' 6-4 victory over the Royals. Mathis took over in the fifth inning for starter Scott Feldman and, pitching for the first time since April 29, picked up his first victory since June 8, 2008.

"It's always good to get a win in the big leagues but Mother's Day is special," Mathis said. "I'm always thinking of her but especially on days like today when we're wearing the pink ribbons and they're using the pink bats."

Jan Mathis was first diagnosed when Doug was a freshman in college back in 2003. The cancer stayed in remission for three years but then she had a flare-up during Spring Training in 2007. She went through another round of treatment and so far so good.

"She's completely healthy," Mathis said. "She beat it again. She called me [Saturday] and told me it's been seven years and she is healthy. That's great news."

So Mathis reciprocated in kind on a day when Major League Baseball works with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure to raise awareness for breast cancer. The Rangers wore the pink ribbons and wristbands and most of them used the pink bats.

Mathis was one of the Rangers who introduced himself to Melanie Parsons, a teacher from Garland High School who has been through three surgeries in her fight against breast cancer. Parsons was selected as the Rangers' Honorary Bat Girl during the on-field pregame ceremonies as part of MLB's Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative.

"I just want people to know there are over 91,000 women in Texas fighting breast cancer," Parsons said. "I want everybody know we're working to raise awareness, raise money, be open about it and find a cure. There is a lot of work to do.

"There are amazing things being done from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Breast Cancer Foundation, and events like this with professional sports teams getting involved is making a big difference."

It's a difficult disease but Jan Mathis is living proof on Mother's Day 2010 that there is hope for those still racing for the cure. Her son is living proof that there are reasons to keep up the fight and a Major League win is a nice present on Mother's Day for any mom.

"I'll do something for her to commemorate it," Mathis said. "It's a special day...a special thing. Something good always happens to me on Mother's Day. Two years ago I got called up to the big leagues on Mother's Day and today I got a win for her."

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