Tigers coaches Play Ball with youth players

Members of the Detroit Tigers' coaching staff paid a visit to more than 90 eager youth baseball players at Millennium Park in Northville, Mich., on Saturday.

Assistant hitting coach David Newhan, third-base coach Dave Clark and former Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones each hosted sessions on separate diamonds, teaching kids the basics of batting, fielding and pitching. The clinic was a part of the Tigers' "Play Baseball Detroit" program.

The program, aims to expand the popularity of baseball in the Detroit area by providing clinics and gear, is a great companion to MLB's Play Ball initiative.

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Participants at Saturday's clinic donated slightly-used baseball equipment to provide bats, balls, gloves and more to those who can't afford the gear.

Newhan hopes he and the other coaches left an impression on the young players.

"Hopefully they can grab a few things, and if that helps stoke that fire in them, instill that passion to continue playing, then that's great," Newhan said. "That's what we want -- just to create that passion for baseball."

Newhan believes young players are pretty impressionable when they are learning from someone in a Tigers uniform.

"Obviously, the Old English 'D' and the tradition, they see it on TV and they see it in the paper, and for us to be wearing it, it's definitely an honor," he said. "It definitely brings it to life for them to be here in person and having the uniform on."

Todd Gattoni helps coach two teams in the Northville youth baseball program. He said the clinic is a good way to build a strong foundation of baseball in the community.

"We encourage all of our players to come out, because the more baseball they get, with great instruction, the better for them and their development," Gattoni said.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.