HOUSTON -- Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie will travel to Colombia next week to serve as a sports envoy in Major League Baseball's "Diamond Diplomacy" program in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State.
Lowrie, who signed a contract to return to the Astros after playing two seasons in Oakland, will be in South America from Jan. 19-23. He will travel to the cities of Bogota, Cartagena, and Barranquilla.
In a renewed partnership with MLB as part of "Diamond Diplomacy," current professional baseball players will accompany Olympic softball stars to Colombia and Panama.
"I'm honored and excited to participate in the 'Diamond Diplomacy' program," Lowrie said in a statement. "I think baseball has a lot of important lessons to offer young athletes no matter where they come from, and I look forward to meeting fans in Colombia and sharing my Major League experiences with them."
Lowrie's wife, Milessa Muchmore Lowrie, served the Department of State for several years as a diplomat based in Toronto and Mexico City. The couple now resides in Houston.
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie is currently in Panama with Olympic softball gold medalist Jessica Mendoza for the program. Olympian Ruby Rojas will travel to the Colombian city of Santa Marta at the end of the month.
The programs will leverage baseball and softball's ability to engage youth audiences to promote conflict resolution, gender equality, and cooperation, all central to the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama in April.
The sports envoys will hold sessions that promote the importance of education and highlight opportunities to study in the U.S., as well as the importance of racial inclusion and the participation of women and girls in sports. Sessions will also highlight the relevance of engaging at-risk youth in sports programs as a way to encourage leadership development and teamwork skills.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.