Astros announce annual Caravan schedule

Astros announce annual Caravan schedule

HOUSTON -- The Astros on Wednesday unveiled the schedule for their 2016 Caravan, the team's annual fan-outreach tour throughout Houston and central and south Texas.

Astros players and broadcasters will spend four days engaging with fans and signing autographs at local Academy Sports + Outdoors stores. They will also interact with local first responders, stop at several different community centers, visit military facilities and hospitals and conduct baseball and softball clinics.

The tour consists of several simultaneous trips over the course of four days, with stops in the Houston area (Jan. 18-21), San Antonio (Jan. 19), Austin (Jan. 20) and Corpus Christi (Jan. 20). Also, the Astros will host "Caravan Jams" in specific markets (North Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christi), which will feature music, inflatables, traditional baseball fare and interaction with players through public question-and-answer sessions.

Current players scheduled to participate in the Caravan are Jose Altuve, Mike Fiers, Ken Giles, Marwin Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Marisnick, Lance McCullers, Brad Peacock, Colby Rasmus, Max Stassi, Preston Tucker and Luis Valbuena. Manager A.J. Hinch will also be on the tour, joining Astros TV broadcaster Bill Brown and radio broadcasters Robert Ford and Steve Sparks.

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The Astros will kick off the Caravan with a day of service on Monday at the Houston Food Bank, the Star of Hope Men's Development Center and Star of Hope Women and Family Emergency Shelter.

Meanwhile, the Astros Foundation is playing host to the Diamond Dreams Gala featuring legendary singer and songwriter James Taylor on the field of Minute Maid Park on Jan. 22. The charitable event will benefit the Astros Foundation as well as New Hope Housing, an organization combatting homelessness by providing housing and support services for those in need.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.