Marlins recognize Gotay-Cano as Honorary Bat Girl

Marlins recognize Gotay-Cano as Honorary Bat Girl

MIAMI -- Prior to Friday's game with the Braves, Missy Gotay-Cano was recognized as the Marlins' Honorary Bat Girl for Mother's Day in the team's first home game since the holiday on Sunday.

Gotay-Cano, diagnosed with breast cancer last summer at the age of 40, received a pink Louisville Slugger bat engraved with her name from Miami reliever Steve Cishek during the pregame ceremony. She then threw out a ceremonial first pitch moments later.

Having undergone a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and also beginning chemotherapy, the wife and mother of two wants her recognition to send a message.

"Just to stay positive," Gotay-Cano said. "It's a great thing that everyone in Major League Baseball is making everyone aware of. For all the women out there, just definitely stay positive and try to get that support from friends and family."

The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative. In seven years, thousands of testimonials have been submitted and more than two million fan votes have been cast.

While Gotay-Cano was named as the Marlins' recipient on Sunday, she waited until Friday to receive her award due to Miami's West Coast trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

However, the former softball player didn't mind the delay.

"This is an honor and something that's on my bucket list," said Gotay-Cano, who played softball in high school and college before coaching at the high school level. "It's amazing that I'm out here. I've been playing softball since I was 4 years old, so this is just really an honor to be out here on the field for this."

Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause and also raises funds to support breast cancer research.

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