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Arenado finds joy in Children's Hospital visit

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Nolan Arenado experienced one of his biggest -- and most important -- thrills of any year on Monday.

A day after learning he was invited to his fourth straight All-Star Game, and would be making his second straight fan-voted start, Arenado visited patients at Children's Hospital Colorado and heard news so good that the All-Star Game paled in comparison.

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DENVER -- Nolan Arenado experienced one of his biggest -- and most important -- thrills of any year on Monday.

A day after learning he was invited to his fourth straight All-Star Game, and would be making his second straight fan-voted start, Arenado visited patients at Children's Hospital Colorado and heard news so good that the All-Star Game paled in comparison.

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"It was cool going yesterday, because a lot of them got discharged -- that was pretty awesome to see," Arenado said before Tuesday night's game against the D-backs. "I wanna say yesterday, it was three or four. They were pretty stoked.

"I had never seen that before, so that was cool."

The Rockies have long had a relationship with Children's Hospital Colorado. In recent years, the club has hosted patients and caregivers for a weekend during Spring Training. It's part interaction between the children and the players, part a weekend of fun, and part a break from daily care for the parents.

Arenado doesn't want the spirit to end in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Arenado said he arranges these visits each year through Jim Kellogg, the Rockies' vice president of community and retail operations. Although he doesn't mind if the public knows about them, Arenado makes the visits quiet and personal. And while he witnessed patients who were determined well enough to go home, he knows his visit was a ray of sunshine during a difficult battle.

"I don't do it to get recognition; I do it for them, the kids," Arenado said. "Thank God, I'm fortunate that I'm healthy and I get to play the game I love. If I can make them feel better for a couple of minutes or an hour, however long I'm there, it's well worth it.

"And it's seeing the parents. The parents need motivation, also. They need a little pick-me-up. I want to lift the parents up, also. Some people forget that parents are going through a hard time, too."

The visits awaken Arenado to another side of life.

"We've had some family members and friends -- uncles and cousins -- but nothing as serious as what these kids are going through" Arenado said. "I'm pretty lucky. I thank God for my family staying healthy, for the most part. Hopefully, it continues, but it's great to see some smiles. It's definitely worth the time. No doubt about that."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Nolan Arenado