Cards honor breast cancer survivor Darting

Honorary Bat Girl presented pink bat by Wong, throws out first pitch

Cards honor breast cancer survivor Darting

ST. LOUIS -- Breast cancer survivor Jessica Darting, selected as the Cardinals' Honorary Bat Girl for the team's Mother's Day game, was so consumed by the sights and sounds around her on Sunday that she never noticed who was sneaking up from behind.

Kolten Wong stepped away from his pregame work for a few minutes to surprise Darting in the Cardinals' dugout before the team's series finale with the Cubs. There, Wong presented her with a pink bat, posed for some photos and briefly shared his own cancer story. Wong's mother, Keala, passed away in December 2013 after her lengthy battle with cancer.

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After being diagnosed with Stage 2 infiltrating ductal breast cancer in January 2016, Darting, 34, underwent five months of chemotherapy, 30 rounds of radiation and a double mastectomy. She has additional reconstruction surgeries scheduled, but is in remission.

Darting never left her job as an X-ray tech at a children's hospital during her treatment.

"I know it's very cliché, but throughout the whole thing, I've been super positive," said the Cardinals fan from Basehor, Kansas. "I've had down days and I've had down hours, but I never let it consume me. I'm constantly happy that I'm still alive. I stayed working throughout the whole time, which helped me have a lot of support. I never thought that I wasn't going to beat this."

• MLB goes to bat against breast cancer

Major League Baseball began its Honorary Bat Girl program in 2009 to generate awareness about breast cancer and raise funds to support cancer research. In addition to being recognized on the field before Sunday's game and throwing a ceremonial first pitch, Darting received pink MLB merchandise as a prize for her selection.

"I feel very, very happy and grateful that I'm here," Darting said. "I've been a Cardinals fan since I met my husband. He's been a Cardinals fan for life. I feel like I'm giving something back to him for taking care of me this last year. It's really exciting."

Worth Noting

• For the second straight day, players and coaches wore specially designed uniforms featuring a pink ribbon and pink script. Several players also donned pink cleats, compression sleeves, batting gloves and/or wrist/elbow/leg guards. Louisville Slugger provided its players with pink bats, which, along with the jerseys, will be auctioned off on to raise money for the fight against breast cancer.

• Triple-A starter Luke Weaver allowed his first run of the season on Saturday, but still led Memphis to a 10-1 win with his seven-inning start. In 22 innings for Memphis this year, Weaver, the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect, has allowed one run on 14 hits and struck out 19.

Jose Martinez broached another checkpoint in his rehab work on Sunday when he tested his strained left groin by doing some light running on the outfield grass. Martinez is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday, but he is not expected to be ready that soon.

Jhonny Peralta (upper respiratory infection) transferred his rehab assignment to Memphis, where he hit cleanup and played third base for the Redbirds on Sunday. Stephen Piscotty (right hamstring strain) is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Tuesday.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.