Indians' Lindblom playing close to Riley Hospital, where daughter receives care


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Indianapolis Indians righthanded pitcher Josh Lindblom and his Tribe teammates will wear Captain America jerseys on Saturday versus Louisville. The jerseys will be auctioned off to support the care of real life super heroes, the patients at Riley Hospital for Children. Josh's baby daughter Monroe is a Riley kid.

"She's been through a lot, that's for sure," said Aurielle Lindblom, Josh's wife and Monroe's mother. "She was born October 20th. She has hypoplastic right heart syndrome and had her first open heart surgery at a week old."

Monroe is eight months old now, facing multiple heart surgeries as she grows up. Her dad was pitching for the Lotte Giants and the family was living in South Korea last year when mom's ultrasound showed a serious heart problem. Aurielle and the family's two older children, Presley and Palmer, returned to Lafayette, Josh and Aurielle's hometown and where Josh pitched for Purdue.

Monroe was born October 20th and spent the first six weeks of her life at Riley Hospital.

"You're living here, staying in the rooms," said Josh during a visit to Riley this week to unveil the Captain America jerseys. "The services they provide, the care, the support - it really is an amazing place. Until you're here and you're experiencing everything for yourself, it's a little different. To put names with faces and have these relationships, you see how much the doctors care and almost kind of adopt their kids as their own. They want to see them get better. They give all their time and effort caring for them and loving them."

"We have a Riley child," said Aurielle. "Anytime we hear the Riley name we're on board for anything. It definitely hits home now."

Josh planned to return to South Korea this season, but the Pittsburgh Pirates offered him a contract, giving him the chance to pitch at Victory Field for the AAA affiliate Indians. When Josh throws on the mound at Victory Field, he's less than two miles from Riley Hospital.

"It's just kind of a godsend to be able to be at home, live at home, keep our family together and continue to get care from in our opinion, obviously we're biased, but the best children's hospital in the country," said Josh. "It's been amazing just the care from the doctors, nurses and staff, everybody. It's a lot of emotion coming back here, but a lot of really good friendships also."

"When we were inpatient in October when she was born, that was like our one hope that Pittsburgh would call and worst case scenario we would be in Indianapolis," said Aurielle. "So it really is the perfect scenario for us this season. It's been amazing."

Monroe is living a normal life with the exception of a feeding tube. Her next surgery is planned when she turns one.

"Right now she's stable and good so were just thankful for that," said Aurielle.

"She couldn't be doing any better developmentally and the way that her heart looks right now. We're really thankful for that."

The family is also thankful for excellent care for Monroe so close to home, and home plate.

The Indians host MARVEL Super Hero Night featuring Captain America Saturday. The Captain America jerseys will be auctioned off during the game with proceeds benefiting Riley Children’s Foundation. Captain America will be on hand to meet and greet fans, and the first 2,500 fans through the gate receive a Captain America bobblehead. The gates at Victory Field open at 5:30 p.m. with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.