Astros host Play Ball initiative at youth academy

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HOUSTON — As part of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s Play Ball initiative — designed to equip young people with a deeper foundation of the sport’s core fundamentals — Houston hosted a Play Ball clinic at the Astros Youth Academy on Friday morning, prior to the first pitch of Houston’s game against the Yankees at Minute Maid Park.

After a week-long camp at the Youth Academy in Houston, roughly 100 kids participated in Friday’s week-ending clinic. And today was all about enjoying the game in Texas’ warm midday weather, said Houston’s Urban Youth Academy director Daryl Wade.

“We told the kids, ‘Have fun and just enjoy the game of baseball,”‘ he said.

Friday’s clinic kicked off a weekend full of Play Ball events in Houston and featured fundamentals-focused drills the participants had practiced throughout the week at the camp, Wade said.

“We did those drills all week and again today. And in those drills [we] had fun and enjoyed the game.” he said. “They had a good time. It was a little warm, but they had fun.”

Following Friday’s clinic, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve will be featured on MLB Network’s new show, “Play Ball,” at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday.

The 30-minute program features personal tutorials from some of baseball’s most notable names, as well as tips on how young people can participate in many baseball activities.

The Astros will conclude Play Ball weekend prior to Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. CT series finale vs. New York with a “cap exchange” between Astros players and members from the club’s MLB Youth Academy.

Play Ball had more than 250 events scheduled for the calendar year, MLB senior vice president of youth programs Tony Reagins told in February

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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