Players make special hospital visit to veterans

Players make special hospital visit to veterans

BALTIMORE -- Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gordon Beckham, Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Zach Stewart made a special Wednesday morning trip to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., visiting with wounded veterans. The White Sox signed autographs, passed out autographed hats and took pictures with the medical support staff.

Buehrle said the trip was so meaningful that he would have gone even if Wednesday was his day to pitch. Buehrle mentioned that the goal was to try to give these individuals a break from thinking about impending surgery or rehab work, and talking with them for 90 minutes helped put his own everyday life in perspective.

"Oh, big time. It's just the little stuff people complain about," Buehrle said. "You go down there and see these guys who have gone through 10 surgeries and they still have to go through a bunch more.

"Some of the guys, you don't know how much detail they want to get into. Some of them are open to kind of throw it out there and tell you everything."

A few of the hospitalized veterans on this trip were from Chicago, giving the White Sox a bit more recognition. But recognition was not the point of this excursion, in a group including head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, assistant hitting coach Mike Gellinger and assistant director of media relations Pat O'Connell.

"It was cool because there were some White Sox fans, so it was a big deal for them," Stewart said. "But it was just as much fun for us to visit them and tell them thanks.

"You hear what's going on, but to see what the guys who have been there, all they have been through. They still have the fight left in them and a lot of spirit. It was really cool to see."