Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield had a message for his throwing partner.
“Back up,” Merrifield said to 9-year-old Kylie Habiger, “show off that arm.”
The scene unfolded on the lawn at the Ronald McDonald House on Tuesday as Merrifield visited with the kids and their parents who are staying there.
In Kansas City, the Ronald McDonald House provides 87 rooms to families whose children are undergoing medical treatment. That includes Habiger, who is from Parsons, Kan., and is having monthly treatments for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that has affected her knees, elbow and feet.
Habiger had a treatment on Tuesday, and her throwing arm looked great as she whizzed a softball that popped in Merrifield’s glove. He also took time to play a bit of Wiffle ball and took part in arts and crafts with some of the kids.
“It’s been a special day to come here,” Merrifield said. “This is my first time in a Ronald McDonald House, just to see what it’s like on the inside and to see how comforting and just how nice it is in here, is pretty cool.”
Merrifield, who is in his second season with the Royals, said he was happy to spend time with this kids.
“Just the support that the community gives us as a team and organization, it’s important for us to give back to the community,” Merrifield said. “The amount of love that people have for baseball here, it’s cool to see. So whenever we have a chance to give that love back, we’re going to give take advantage when we can.”