Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran became the latest Major Leaguer to commit to hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean, launching a fundraising campaign for his native Puerto Rico. Beltran and his wife, Jessica, spearheaded the effort with their own $1 million donation to help those affected by the storm.
"Right now, our country is suffering from devastating hurricanes. Not only one, but two in a row. I just want to help as much as I can," said Beltran, after the Astros' 3-0 win against the Angels on Friday night. "I just felt in my heart that it was something that needed to be done."
Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria earlier this week and is still suffering from severe flooding. Most of the island is reportedly still without power, leaving many -- like Beltran, a native of Manati, Puerto Rico -- unable to contact friends and family there.
"My family and I are with you not only in our prayers, but in our effort to rebuild our beautiful country," Beltran said in a video on the CrowdRise page. "Puerto Rico, I love you. I know we will rise up."
In the campaign's first four hours, supporters had already made nearly $4,000 in additional donations. Those interested in contributing can visit the CrowdRise page at www.crowdrise.com/o/en/team/carlosbeltran.
"I try to come to the ballpark with a positive mentality. But my heart and mind, it's not here," Beltran said. "You still have to come and try to do the best you can to be professional. But it's hard to see the country where you grew up and were born suffering the way they're suffering."
"That's pretty incredible that one of their own will step up and put that kind of money behind an effort, and be a leader in trying to bring more attention to the needs of Puerto Rico," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Beltran's efforts. "I see that happening here in our community with J.J. Watt, and the stuff Jose [Altuve] and [George] Springer have done. It's incredible to see the heartfelt efforts of our guys and other people in times of need."
Beltran's former teammate, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, is also aiding the relief effort in Puerto Rico. Molina and his wife, Wanda, created a GoFundMe page that had already raised more than $55,000 as of Friday evening.
"Everybody is affected," Molina said Thursday. "There is no power, no food, no water ... it's a tough situation. They were hit pretty hard. They need help down there."
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.