TORONTO -- Jose Bautista dedicated Friday night's game against the A's to the memory of Derek Lendosky after the nine-year-old recently died after a tragic accident in Wisconsin.
Lendosky was killed in a UTV crash near Madison, Wis., earlier in the week. Bautista received a tweet from the young boy's father, who said his son was going to be buried on Friday night and would be wearing a Bautista jersey along with a ball he previously received from Toronto's right fielder.
@JoeyBats19 you were his favorite player. He would have wanted me to share this with you.- Steve Lendosky (@iamlongball) August 7, 2013
That prompted an outpouring of support on Twitter along with a Facebook page "ActsofkindnessforDerek," and Bautista was quick to respond before taking the field for the series opener against Oakland.
"Teammate of the day is Derek Lendosky," Bautista tweeted. "RIP Derek, may your family find strength. #JoseBautistaGameForDerek."
Bautista, who went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in Saturday's 5-4 win, ensured that his game on Friday would provide a lasting memory to the family, as he went 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles.
Thanks @JoeyBats19 . I couldn't ask for a better ending to a very difficult day. Derek thanks you. You made a community smile tonight.- Steve Lendosky (@iamlongball) August 10, 2013
The public act of kindness also brought even more awareness to Lendosky's tragic passing. The Facebook page in his memory had received more than 6,500 likes by Saturday morning and Lendosky's father was truly appreciative of what Bautista decided to do.
"He would be on cloud 9," Steve Lendosky tweeted. "I am sure he is looking down on us smiling. You are too kind, what a wonderful gesture. Thank you."
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @EvanPeaslee. Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.