Indians players shave heads to support teammate Mike Aviles’ daughter (pic)
Members of the Cleveland Indians have shaved their heads to show support for infielder Mike Aviles and his ailing daughter.
Four-year-old Adriana Aviles was diagnosed with leukemia in early May and Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis indicated it’s the least the team could do to demonstrate to the Aviles family that his teammates are thinking about them.
“It’s a team thing,” he said, via Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Paul Hoynes. “It started with Mike’s daughter because of what she’s going through. Unfortunately, she’s going to be losing her hair soon from chemotherapy and we all wanted to join in.”
The Indians placed Aviles on Family Medical Emergency list and later the restricted list. He missed eight games in mid-May to be with Adriana, who is undergoing treatment at Cleveland Clinic, before rejoining the team on May 18. Since his return, Aviles is batting.368 (7-for-17) with a home run and two RBI, an impressive accomplishment given his mind couldn’t be further from the baseball field.
“Mike is one of the best clubhouse guys there is in this entire league,” said Kipnis. “He’s been a great person and a great teammate. I think all the guys have done a good job of stepping up to make him feel welcomed and back at home and that nothing has changed.
“Numerous guys have told him that if he needs anything at anytime that they’ll be there for him. I think baseball has been a good distraction for him.”
As far as the head-shaving is concerned, which also included members of the coaching staff, Kipnis said: “It started with a couple of guys and has spread throughout the whole clubhouse.”
Indians manager Terry Francona also made it clear that Aviles has the team’s full support as he and his family deal with Adriana’s illness.
“It’s heartbreaking to anyone who has children and I don’t even think you need to have children,” he said when Adriana’s leukemia diagnosis was first learned.
Thoughts go out to the Aviles family during this difficult time.
[H/T For the Win, images via Cleveland Indians/Twitter]