Astros Caravan visits Urban Youth Academy

Springer, Correa, McCullers answer questions, offer advice to young players

Astros Caravan visits Urban Youth Academy

HOUSTON -- The questions came in hot and heavy for George Springer, Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers on Wednesday afternoon. A group of teenage players at the Urban Youth Academy peppered the Astros stars about their routines, nutrition, what pitches they hate to face and more as part of the team's annual Caravan.

McCullers, not wanting to sound too overbearing, warned the kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Correa reminded them about the value of working hard while their friends want to have fun. Springer was demonstrative while giving some hitting tips.

Astros Caravan information

All three delivered valuable advice to attentive ears.

"It's awesome, just because I was in that position before and it's something cool to hear all the questions and just give them some insight about our day," Springer said.

In fact, Correa told the players at the UYA that he distinctly remembers listening to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina talk to a group of young players he was a part of just several years ago. The big leagues were only a dream that that point.

"I remember like it was today," he said. "I was in high school and Yadier was talking to us. We were down on the floor like they were and he was in a chair and he was saying the same things. I was telling them, 'It was five years ago, I was sitting there and now I'm here.' Maybe in five years they can be sitting where I am right now encouraging other kids to accomplish their goals."

Correa, 22, told the story of how his friends always wanted him to go out and have fun and enjoy life as a youngster, but Correa remained focused on baseball. He's the one enjoying life the most now.

"It's just encouraging them that it can be done, anybody can get to the big leagues and play at this level," he said. "You have to sacrifice some things and be able to put in the work to get to where you are. I was just encouraging them to sacrifice a lot and forget the partying and stuff like that and focus more on the long run. If they want to be a pop star or a baseball player or a teacher, just work and set that goal and work toward accomplishing that."

McCullers, 23, said the message he tried to convey was that baseball is a great foundation for life. It teaches you how to deal with failure and work toward your goals.

"Whether or not you make it to the big leagues, the work ethic you put in and the sacrifice you put in to get to the games on the weekends, or just do your homework early or stay up late because you had a baseball game, you put in the time and put in the effort, which is going to translate later in life," he said. "I've got a ton of friends who were talented and put in the work, too, and went on to other great things and they're going to be super successful. That's what I want these guys to understand."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.