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Boy born with no hands or lower legs signs with Yankees

TAMPA, Fla. -- Though Landis Sims was born without hands or half his legs, he signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees on Monday.

Sims, 10, was called an inspiration by manager Joe Girardi after signing the deal. Upon completion of the contract, Sims took batting practice with a group that included Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira prior to the Yankees' spring game against the Houston Astros.

Sims, represented by CC Sabathia in his negotiation with Yankees assistant general manager Jean Afterman, will receive a payment in honorarium.

Sims is a 4-foot-11, 105-pound second baseman from Elizabeth, Indiana, which is near Louisville, Kentucky. He has no legs from the knees down and wears prosthetics, which have Derek Jeter's No. 2 on the knees.

Without hands, he plays Little League with a soccer shinguard inserted into his baseball glove. This allows him to play defense. It works so well, he sometimes even pitches.

At bat, he uses the help of a prosthetic that allows him to cup the bat for his swing.

Sims offered inspiration for the Yankees on Monday. Girardi first met Sims two years ago.

Through a Yankees public relations representative, Sims was supposed to just watch batting practice on the field. After Girardi met him, the manager took Sims to meet his hero, Jeter.

Sims was in the Yankees' pre-workout meeting Monday morning, where the team watched part of a documentary being made by filmmaker Eric Cochran. It shows Sims' positive attitude.

"People can overcome extraordinary circumstances," said Girardi, who, along with communications director Jazon Zillo and Afterman, came up with the idea of the contract.

"It's amazing what the mind can do."

Sims' mother, Amanda Haag, calls her son a blessing. His stepfather, Jeremy Haag, says he is an inspiration.

"He just draws people in," Amanda said.

There was shock 10 years ago for Amanda when she found out that her only son had been born impaired.

"The first day was pretty devastating," Amanda, a high school teacher, said. "Then God started working and it has just been an amazing ride since then."

A-Rod signed a bat for Sims that read, "To a great teammate, Alex Rodriguez." Sims had his own locker but spent much of the pregame at Rodriguez's.

"We're giving each other hitting lessons, trying to help each other out," Rodriguez said.

The two are different in a lot of ways, but their love for baseball united them.

"Since he was 2 when he got a bat and a ball, he has been a fanatic," Amanda said.

On Tuesday, he goes back to Indiana and fourth grade.