The day ‘the Astro’ came to visit

Cor­rea, fi­ancée make kids’ day with trip to hos­pi­tal he de­scribes as ‘most fun I’ve had’ since Se­ries

Houston Chronicle - - DAILY DIGITAL - By Matt Young twit­­mat­ty­oung

Astros star Car­los Cor­rea said he was the most ex­cited per­son in the build­ing when he vis­ited with pa­tients at Chil­dren’s Me­mo­rial Her­mann Hos­pi­tal on Tues­day.

Cor­rea’s per­mas­mile gave proof to his words, but there’s no way his ex­cite­ment me­ter topped that of 5-year-old Isa­iah Wilkins.

Isa­iah’s day was hard to beat. On Mon­day morn­ing, he un­der­went heart surgery, and barely more than 24 hours later, he not only was on his way to a full re­cov­ery, but he lit­er­ally was jump­ing up and down at the chance to meet Cor­rea.

“I’m next,” said Isa­iah as he first bounced ex­cit­edly, then made his way around a group of re­porters who were doc­u­ment­ing Cor­rea’s ev­ery move with their iPhones.

When Isa­iah fi­nally got face-to-face with a kneel­ing Cor­rea, he gave the Astros star a big hug. Then, he leaped as high as he could when Cor­rea jok­ingly put his hand up for a high-five way above Isa­iah’s head.

“That was the Astro,” Isa­iah said know­ingly. “He won the World Se­ries.”

Ricky Wilkins is used to see­ing that type of en­ergy from his son, who weighed just 1 pound, 14 ounces when he was born pre­ma­turely.

“He’s al­ways ex­cited any­way, but I’m re­ally sur­prised to see him like this just a day af­ter heart surgery,” Wilkins said. “It’s great that Car­los Cor­rea could visit and make every­one’s day like this.”

Cor­rea in­sisted it was the other way around. Ever since win­ning the World Se­ries and get­ting en­gaged to Daniella Ro­driguez on the same night two weeks ago, Cor­rea and Ro­driguez have been on a whirl­wind tour that in­cluded ap­per­ances on “Jimmy Kim­mel Live” and Steve Har­vey’s day­time show.

“I’ve been ev­ery­where, but for me, this is the most fun I’ve had, be­cause I got to spend time with the kids,” Cor­rea said. “I love kids, and to be able to spend time with them, bring a smile to their faces, be able to play around with them a lit­tle bit and take pic­tures with them ... it means ev­ery­thing to me.”

Cor­rea gave all the credit for the hos­pi­tal visit to Ro­driguez, who also walked around talk­ing to as many kids and fam­i­lies as she could.

“She was like, ‘We’ve been do­ing a lot of fly­ing and ev­ery­thing, but when we get back to Hous­ton and we set­tle down, we should go to the chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal and you should go over and meet some kids and make their day bet­ter just by show­ing up and be­ing able to spend some time with them,’” Cor­rea said. “I thought it was a great idea, so she planned it out. We’re here today be­cause of her.”

One of the pa­tients Cor­rea got to meet was 11-day-old Zoey Wein­lein, who was born with a rare dis­or­der called Argini­nosuc­cinic Aciduria that causes a buildup of acids in a child’s blood and urine. Zoey’s par­ents, Bill and Nikki, were so ex­cited by Cor­rea’s visit, they handed their baby to the ten­ta­tive Astros star.

“I was more ner­vous than Game 7 and the pro­posal right there,” Cor­rea said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s (11) days old, and I’m hold­ing her. I bet­ter not drop her.’ So, I was be­ing su­per care­ful.”

Af­ter the me­dia left the hos­pi­tal, Cor­rea and Ro­driguez stopped by the rooms of pa­tients who weren’t able to get out of bed to see Cor­rea’s big entrance.

“For me, it’s about us­ing this plat­form to be able to im­pact other peo­ple’s lives, and I (hope) I’m do­ing that right now with these kids,” Cor­rea said. “You can see it on their faces when they see you and they smile and they’re happy. That re­ally fills me.”

Karen War­ren / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

Astros star Car­los Cor­rea vis­its with 5-year-old Isa­iah Wilkins, who had heart surgery a day ear­lier. Cor­rea and his fi­ancée, Daniella Ro­driguez, vis­ited pa­tients at Chil­dren’s Me­mo­rial Her­mann Hos­pi­tal on Tues­day.

Cor­rea signed plenty of au­to­graphs dur­ing his visit to Chil­dren’s Me­mo­rial Her­mann Hos­pi­tal.

Daniella Ro­driguez, Cor­rea’s fi­ancée, takes a photo with By­ron Ramirez, 12, as she and Cor­rea vis­ited pa­tients on Tues­day.

Car­los Cor­rea said he was more ner­vous to hold 11-day-old Zoey Wein­lein, with her mother, Ni­cole, than he was in Game 7 of the World Se­ries.

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