Chirinos, Perez brighten kids' day with Dallas hospital visit

Chirinos, Perez brighten kids' day with Dallas hospital visit

DALLAS -- Robinson Chirinos and Martin Perez produced the usual smiles one sees when Rangers players visit children in the hospital around Christmas time, with Thursday's stop at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas.

They handed out souvenirs and autographs and posed for photos with patients and nurses.

There was one moment when Chirinos, who might have the biggest smile of any Rangers player since catching counterpart Ivan Rodriguez, bent down at eye level to talk to one patient. The youngster broke out in a big smile, only to be outdone by Chirinos, whose face lit up.

"It's a blessing," Chirinos said of making the visit. "I've said so many times we forget what these kids are going through and their struggles. My family and my foundation, we are blessed to help these kids by bringing a smile to their faces."

Chirinos made the rounds on one of the patient floors with his wife, Heidy, and Perez and his wife, Viclena. Perez and his wife were visiting children in the hospital as a representative of the Rangers for the first time. Texas Scottish Rite Hospital specializes in pediatric orthopedic conditions, certain related neurological disorders and learning disorders such as dyslexia.

"You feel happy because they feel good and you see it," Perez said. "I know that it's hard sometimes, but when you're here, you talk to the kids and you get to hear about them getting to go home soon and it makes you smile. It's good for everybody, especially the kids."

As always, the Rangers' visit made things a little better for the patients and the families.

"It's cool," said 6-year-old Colt Spry from Texarkana, who recently had his hip replaced.

One patient, United States National Artistic Gymnastics team member Madison Kocian, a 17-year-old World team gold medalist from Dallas, got a chance to visit with Perez and Chirinos.

"It's awesome," said Kocian, who recently had wrist surgery. "I didn't expect it. I'm a huge Rangers fan."

Chirinos has made it his mission to give back since he broke into the big leagues with the Rays. He was traded to the Rangers just after the start of the 2013 season.

Chirinos began the Robinson Chirinos Foundation in 2012, which operates out of his hometown of Punto Fijo, Venezuela. The foundation holds clinics and provides baseball equipment to 300 children, and has also sponsored toy drives on Christmas Eve.

"It's really a blessing to have a moment to try and bring a smile to those kids," Heidy Chirinos said. "We met some kids who just came out of surgery this morning."

Todd Wills is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.