The Astros and the Astros Foundation's cornerstone programs -- the Astros Urban Youth Academy and RBI program -- will kick off Astros Caravan week with a day of service on Jan. 19 throughout the Houston area.
The Caravan will give Astros players, alumni and broadcasters an opportunity to engage and thank fans as the team gears up for Spring Training and the 2015 season. The fan outreach tour will also engage with local first responders, stop at several different community centers and visit military facilities. There will be several opportunities for fans to get autographs from Astros players at select Academy Sports and Outdoors stores, who sponsor the tour.
Current players joining the tour include Jose Altuve, Chris Carter, Kevin Chapman, Hank Conger, Matt Dominguez, Marwin Gonzalez, Luke Gregerson, Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Marisnick, Pat Neshek, Alex Presley, Chad Qualls, Jon Singleton, Tony Sipp and George Springer.
Top prospects Mark Appel, Max Stassi and Asher Wojciechowski will also be on the tour, joining Astros alumni Brandon Backe, Larry Dierker, Art Howe, John Hudek, J.R. Richard and Chris Sampson. Astros TV broadcasters Bill Brown and Alan Ashby, radio broadcasters Robert Ford and Steve Sparks and Spanish radio broadcaster Alex Trevino will also join the Caravan.
The tour culminates on Jan. 24 with Astros FanFest at Minute Maid Park. Current players Josh Fields, Jed Lowrie and Collin McHugh, prospects Colin Moran and Preston Tucker and former players Terry Puhl, Carl Warwick and Jimmy Wynn are scheduled to appear. Other players and alumni may be added to the ones listed for both Caravan and FanFest.
FanFest will run from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. CT and will have activities for all ages, including autograph sessions with many current and former players, swings in the Astros batting cages, running the bases, bullpen throwing sessions, an interactive kids zone, fan forums with front-office staff as well as current and former players, a vendor expo and mechanical bull riding.
Also, Methodist Hospital will be conducting a blood drive at Minute Maid Park during the event. The majority of FanFest proceeds will benefit the Astros Foundation's programs for at-risk children and teens.