BALTIMORE -- It may seem jarring at first, but sooner or later, it will become commonplace. Several players will swing pink bats on Mother's Day as part of a league-wide initiative to help raise awareness for breast cancer. The Orioles' Kevin Millar is planning to be one of those players, provided that he's in the starting lineup on Sunday.
"With a good cause, you've got a free pass," Millar said. "That's the only way you get a free pass to swing pink."
To date, more than 200 players have signed up to use a pink bat, which is more than twice the participation in 2006. 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 Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Several other Baltimore players have said they'll use the bat if it arrives on time, but Millar was the only Oriole to have a pink bat proudly displayed in his locker. The Orioles will be in Boston on Sunday, one of Millar's favorite road haunts.
Virtually anyone who uses a Louisville Slugger model bat will have an opportunity to swing the pink bat, and that list could include Miguel Tejada, Ramon Hernandez, Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts.
During the "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" program, fans can support the initiative by logging onto a MLB-themed microsite (www.komen.org/mlb) and making a monetary pledge in the name of a specific team or to the general cause. Donations made in a team's name will go to programs in that team's community to support breast health and breast cancer awareness.
The donations can be made at five different levels: "Single" ($25), "Double" ($50), "Triple" ($75), "Home Run" ($100) and "Grand Slam" ($250). Major League Baseball Charities has also committed an additional $50,000 on top of the fan donation total.
"Major League Baseball is proud to again partner with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help raise awareness and funds for a disease that affects so many women and their families," said Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "It is important to all of us in baseball that our clubs, players, licensees and fans give back to our communities in such a meaningful way."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.