Most baseball players might balk when they are asked to wear pink.
But Chris Bootcheck didn't bat an eye when he and his Mud Hens teammates wore pink uniforms in Friday's 3-2 win over Indianapolis at Fifth Third Field.
"I have two daughters, so in my house pink is a staple color," he said. "But I also hope that [the reason we're wearing pink] -- to raise awareness and raise money for [breast cancer awareness] -- will help us find a cure. That's why I don't mind the pink so much."
Bootcheck said his family has been touched twice by the disease, which affects one in eight women at some point in their lives.
"My sister-in-law went through this, and is in remission now," the Mud Hens' closer said. "When I got home from Japan [in 2010], that's when my mom was diagnosed with [breast cancer].
"The cancer moved into her sternum. At that point, a lumpectomy or a massectomy or chemotherapy aren't treatments that are available. Bootcheck said dealing with cancer has helped he and his family become closer.
"Mother's Day and holidays have a new meaning, because you just never know what will happen," he said.
"But we're dealing with it, trying to be as positive as we can."
The 33-year-old Bootcheck said dealing with cancer has changed the way he views baseball in his life.
"Now I know that nothing is guaranteed," he said. "It put things in perspective for me; it took me a long time before I could even talk about my mom's cancer.
"It has helped me keep good and bad performances in perspective. They're all not that bad anymore, if you think about how fortunate we are."
Bootcheck and the rest of the Hens returned home Friday and put the bad vibes from the 2-6 road trip behind them by scoring three times in the first innings and hanging on for the victory.
Justin Henry got things rolling with a single, then took second when Matt Young drew a four-pitch walk from Indianapolis starter Rick VandenHurk. Ben Guez singled up the middle to score Henry and send Young to third, and when the throw by Indians centerfielder Jose Tabata bounced away from third baseman Yamaico Navarro, Young scored while Guez took third.
John Lindsey was hit by a pitch, and Danny Dorn hit a sacrifice fly to right to plate Guez.
"We have a little more speed [at the top of the lineup], so we were able to take advantage of their mistakes -- and force their mistakes by being aggressive," manager Phil Nevin said. "They threw it around, which is abnormal for that team, and we took advantage of it."
That was all the runs Toledo would score, but it was enough because of the work of starter Brooks Brown and the bullpen. Brown allowed five hits and one walk in five scoreless innings, pitching out of several jams and getting seven outs with runners in scoring position.
"He threw a lot of pitches, but he made pitches when he needed to," Nevin said of Brown. "At the end of the day, it's five scoreless and we'll take it."
Zach Miner threw two scoreless innings in relief, and Collin Balester gave up three singles for a run in the eighth before nearly getting the Indians to hit into a triple play. Luis Marte gave up a run in the ninth but held on for his second save.
NOTES: Dorn celebrated his 28th birthday in his first home game with the Hens Friday. … The game was played in front of a crowd of 11,000 for the Hens 14th sellout this season and 312th full house in Fifth Third Field history.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.