PHOENIX -- After having his season cut short due to a back injury, D-backs shortstop Willie Bloomquist has been working hard this offseason at getting his back stronger so that he is able to play a full season in 2013.
Bloomquist also has continued to put time and effort into the Abe and Max Fund, which was established by him and his wife, Lisa, to help raise money to buy electronics and games for kids who are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
The couple has an ongoing online auction and have been looking at ways to take their fundraising to another level.
While heading for a workout after dropping his kids off at school, Bloomquist took a few minutes to speak with MLB.com about the holidays, his charity and his back.
MLB.com: Are you a presents on Christmas morning or Christmas Eve person?
Bloomquist: I've always liked presents on Christmas morning just for the fact that it's Christmas, and Christmas Eve isn't Christmas. So I've always thought the more presents you have on Christmas morning the better. There's nothing better than waking up Christmas morning and seeing a tree full of Christmas presents, you know?
MLB.com: With three children 7 and younger, I take it Christmas is a big deal in the Bloomquist household?
Bloomquist: Yes, it's a very big deal. My wife has taken it to a whole other level with the Elf on the Shelf deal where the elf has to hide every night and the kids have to wake up and find them in the morning and there's a little treat. Whoever started that one, shame on them, because we have to remember to do it every single night up until Christmas (laughs). When I'm walking with my eyes three-quarters closed to the bedroom at night and realize I have to leave Elfie and Ellie somewhere, well it's added an interesting dynamic for our Christmas holiday.
MLB.com: I know you're heavily involved with Phoenix Children's Hospital with your Abe and Max Fund. Do you do anything special at the hospital around Christmas?
Bloomquist: Best Buy has been awesome helping us out and we recently went down to Best Buy, and with the amount of money we raised this year, we bought a whole back of a truckload of electronics for the kids down there at the hospital, so I delivered that for them.
MLB.com: Wow, that had to really get some smiles from the kids.
Bloomquist: Well that's what it's for. There's a bigger purpose in life than what our selfish needs are. Lisa and I have been able to raise some pretty good funds for it, and to see the effect that it has on those kids who are just stuck there for the holidays thinking about surgery or whatever treatment they might be having is great. It helps entertain them for the time that they're there and it's been very gratifying seeing how excited they get and just spending time with them more than anything.
Those kids are so much better at Nintendo than I am (laughs). I have no idea how to work that stuff. It's fun. We do that all year long, but especially during the holidays, you just think about the hand those kids have been dealt right around Christmas and it makes it tougher for them, so if we can put a smile on their face for an evening, it's well worth it.
MLB.com: Your season was cut short due to your back injury. How is your back coming along?
Bloomquist: I feel great. I'm ready to go, so if the season were to start tomorrow, I'd be ready. It's going to be one of those things where I definitely have to maintain and stay on the program as far as core exercise and stretching and flexibility. What I'm learning, as much as I hate to admit it, is the older you get, you have to prepare that much more and maintain that much more and do maintenance work that much more. From my standpoint, I'm going to have to be a little bit smarter about my workload as far as what I put my body through, and that's going to be a little bit of an adjustment. Bottom line is I feel good and I'm ready to go. I don't have any issues right now, so I'm excited for things to get going.