Donny Sands was once homeless. Now he’s trying to make the Phillies.
Acquired in an offseason trade with the Yankees, Donny Sands is competing for the Phillies' backup catcher job. - Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

CLEARWATER, Fla. — It took Donny Sands three weeks to convince his mother, Alma, to sell her car. The Phillies catching prospect had just bought her a brand new Mercedes Benz with his signing bonus. It was pristine, but that was the problem. She didn’t want to drive it anywhere. The roads by their home in Tucson, Ariz., were full of potholes and dust. That type of vehicle belonged on pavement. So for three weeks, with a Mercedes sitting in her driveway, Alma drove a beat-up 2006 Toyota Camry. That was a car she didn’t mind getting dirty. It had seen the most harrowing parts of their journey — ...