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Phils bring cheer to Children's Hospital

Phillies bring cheer to Children's Hospital

PHILADELPHIA -- Kyle Kendrick wound up and fired a pitch that was headed right down the middle of the plate.

Nine-year-old Amir White was ready. The youngster pulled his Nintendo Wii remote control back and swung forcefully, blasting Kendrick's offering over the fence.

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Kendrick, a Phillies pitcher, and White, a youngster from Philadelphia, were squaring off in a game of Wii Baseball on a brand new entertainment center that had been delivered to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon by Kendrick and fellow Phillies hurler J.A. Happ.

During the delivery, hundreds of the hospital's young patients and their families poured into the room to meet the two pitchers and the Phillie Phanatic, who had come along for the ride.

"I got the home run," White said proudly.

White then held up his left forearm and pointed to a cast wrapped around his wrist that Kendrick had autographed. In his right hand was a freshly autographed photo of the pitcher.

"I'm gonna put it in a case," White said of Kendrick's photo.

The entertainment center, donated by the Phillies and Starlight Children's Foundation, stood four feet tall and contained a Nintendo Wii, a flat-screen monitor and a DVD player.

The purpose of the entertainment center, officially known as a "Fun Center", is to provide the young patients with a fun distraction from the stress associated with being in the hospital.

"If you've gotta be in the hospital, this is the place to be," said Tom Brasuell, Major League Baseball's vice president of community affairs. "We're going to try to make that time a little bit brighter."

The Fun Centers are especially helpful in cheering up the children during treatment sessions, and caregivers have reported that they may result in a reduced need for pain medication.

"When children are scared in their rooms, they can turn it on, play a game, watch a movie -- anything that will remind them of home," said Vivek Khanwalkar, a Starlight manager.

Kendrick smiled when he recalled surrendering White's home run during their game of Wii Baseball.

"It's not the first time," the right-hander joked. "And it won't be the last, either."

Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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