Rasmus spends time with special baseball fan

Rasmus spends time with special baseball fan

CHICAGO -- Prior to going to U.S. Cellular Field for Wednesday's game against the White Sox, Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus spent some time at Shriners Hospital for Children with 8-year-old baseball fan Owen Mahan, who was burned on 98 percent of his body in a 2009 accident.

Rasmus, who was accompanied by his two kids, played Wiffle ball and spent time talking baseball with Mahan, who made his way to the game and met several players on the field while collecting autographs and pictures. Rasmus even gave him a jersey.

"I was contacted with some information about him, and they asked me if I wanted to go and I said I would like to go," Rasmus said. "We set it up to go over there and see him. It's one of those things to kind of help somebody that's been through a lot of stuff in his life.

"He was 2 years old at the time when he went through those things and he didn't know what was going on. To see how his spirit is ... He still feels pretty good and he's laughing and cutting up, and he was burned pretty badly."

Rasmus has been trying to do and attend more charitable functions. Earlier this year he launched the "Hitters for Heroes" campaign, through which he's donating $1,000 for each home run he hits this season to Team Rubicon, a non-profit disaster response organization that repurposes the skills of military veterans to deploy emergency response teams.

"It's been something I've been wanting to do this year, get out and do some things in the community and go and see some kids and hoping to do some more things like that," he said. "Today it just worked out that way to get to go see him, and I felt honored to be able to see him today and it felt pretty cool.

"I had my kids there with me, too, so to see my kids healthy and doing well and him struggling the way he is, that's tough. I just wanted to do that to be a good spot in his life, to continue to give him hope for feeling good and lift his spirits. We did that today. He had a good time."

Rasmus doesn't see himself as important, so he's not always comfortable playing the role of someone young kids look up to.

"Being in the position that I'm in, I'm very thankful to be able to just spend some time with him and it be good time for him," he said. "It's just as good for me to be able to spend time with him. I wish I could help him more, but those are things that are kind of tough to do. He's going through many surgeries, and he'll be going through surgeries up until the time he is 21 years old and maybe even longer than that. I'm thankful he looks at us in that way and we can show him some love."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.