By Lesley Van Arsdall

CLEARWATER, Fla. (CBS) — Michael Saunders just may be the power hitter the Philadelphia Phillies have been looking for, but it’s the powerful story from his past that makes him who he is today.

“I struggled a lot for my first couple of years when I got called up in 2009,” Saunders said. “My mother battled breast cancer for 13 years. She passed away in 2011, so I was obviously going through some tough times, not just only the field.”

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Saunders continued, “I never really got a chance to grieve until that offseason and just seeing what my mom endured and everything that she goes through, not just her, but everyone else. Baseball is so minute compared to what’s going on off the field.

After feeling lost, he managed to find his swing and what’s really important in life.

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“It made me realize an 0-for-4 is not so bad, so I play not only for my mom, but I have a young family now as well and I play for my kids,” Saunders said. “It just really taught me to accept failure. It’s going to happen and really the most important thing for me is not to be scared to fail, so I think what she taught me was an 0-for-4 really isn’t that bad.”

When Saunders steps up to the plate this season, of course the focus is winning for the Phillies, but it’s also about family, and winning for them matters the most.

 

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