Rangers honor cause close to Desmond's heart

Outfielder helping to raise money for Neurofibromatosis

ARLINGTON -- Ian Desmond created his Twitter account in 2012, and shortly after connected with a then-17-year-old boy named Ethan Brown, who had been asking for prayers.

Brown was living with Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body, and currently doesn't have a cure.

Desmond and Brown traded messages on Twitter, and from there a friendship was born.

"The closer I got to him, the more I saw how it affected his life, so I learned more about the disorder and disease," Desmond said. "I just realized how many people it affects and what kind of impact it has on your life."

The Rangers held their Children's Tumor Awareness Foundation Day before Sunday's 6-2 win over the Pirates at Globe Life Park.

Before the game against the Pirates, Desmond was joined on the field by Neurofibromatosis patients and gave a donation of $1,000 to research for each run he scores in May. Desmond has scored 16 times this month for a donation of $16,000.

"I've got three little boys myself. I can't imagine a doctor telling me that one of my children, or all my children or any future children would have the possibility of a disorder that is incurable at this particular moment," Desmond said.

Desmond and Brown still talk to this day, and even have matching tattoos. Desmond's is on his left forearm.

"It's crazy to think you can make a friend through Twitter, but I talk to him more than I talk to anybody," Desmond said.

This is the first event of this nature Desmond has helped put together while with the Rangers, but plans to have one every year from here on out.

"I'm excited to see a group of people that are affected by Neurofibromatosis at one time," he said "I think it's going to be encouraging to see them share stories and maybe pick up some tips from each other."

Worth noting

Rangers manager Jeff Banister was not surprised by Yu Darvish's performance on Saturday in the 5-2 win over the Pirates. Darvish struck out seven through five innings, and allowed one run on his way to the win. He was clocked as high as 98 mph.

"As pitchers go in the Major Leagues, he's on top of that mountain with a few other guys," Banister said.

Darvish fans seven

• Banister gave shortstop Elvis Andrus the day off on Sunday and started Hanser Alberto in his place, rather than Jurickson Profar. Profar was starting at second base.

"If we're looking at three, five, six days a week, maybe it's a different scenario … when Elvis hasn't played, it's been Alberto playing shortstop," he said on keeping Profar at second.

Profar singles over first

• While the Rangers are in Cleveland this week, Rougned Odor will head to Double-A Frisco and work out with the team. According to the rules of his suspension, though, he is not allowed to appear in a Minor League game.

• After Saturday's win, Banister hand-delivered Jared Hoying the ball of his first Major League hit in the clubhouse, something that former Pirates manager Jim Leyland did for Banister in 1991, when he got his first Major League hit.

Hoying's first Major League hit

"It's a special moment for him, his family and everyone involved," Banister said.

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.