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Altuve collecting baseball gear for Venezuela

Astros star co-hosts skills camp with D-backs' Peralta
Special to MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Jose Altuve was 5, 6, 7 -- he is not exactly sure -- when he received his first baseball glove back home in Maracay, Venezuela. But he will never forget how special it was, and he is doing his part to bring that feeling to others.

Altuve and D-backs outfielder David Peralta held an instructional camp for young players Saturday morning in Arizona, during which they accepted contributions of baseball equipment and gear to distribute to youngsters in their native Venezuela.

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PHOENIX -- Jose Altuve was 5, 6, 7 -- he is not exactly sure -- when he received his first baseball glove back home in Maracay, Venezuela. But he will never forget how special it was, and he is doing his part to bring that feeling to others.

Altuve and D-backs outfielder David Peralta held an instructional camp for young players Saturday morning in Arizona, during which they accepted contributions of baseball equipment and gear to distribute to youngsters in their native Venezuela.

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"It's life-changing," Altuve said. "Believe it or not, it is really hard to get a glove, to get a bat when your parents can't afford it. In order for us to collect that equipment and send it there, it's going to be great."

About 100 kids attended the event, where Altuve and Peralta hit and signed autographs.

"Everything I can do to help my country, I'm going to be really happy to do it," Altuve said.

"If now I am able to help people … it feels really good when you do two things at the same time. You are helping kids to get better, and you are helping people back home. It was a really nice event." 

Venezuela is in the middle of political turmoil, and people are struggling for basic services in a country that is rich in natural resources. The country has sent many players to the Major Leagues.

When Houston manager AJ Hinch heard of Altuve's deed, he just nodded.

"He's as perfect as they come," Hinch said.

"We are lucky to have him on our team to be around. He's a great example for all of us on maintaining the right balance of family and job. Never will forget how hard it was for him to get here. Never takes anything for granted."

Tributes to Albert
Albert Pujols has been a positive influence for Altuve, so it should come as no surprise that Altuve was among the many players around baseball sending congratulations to the newest Mr. 3,000.

Video: Must C Classic: Pujols singles, records hit No. 3,000

"Every time I talk to him, he is interested in helping me, and that is something you really appreciate from a player like him - future Hall of Famer, MVP," Altuve said. "I wish he can get many more hits and many more homers. He's obviously a great player. I'm really happy for him. He's a great guy on and off the field."

Hinch is taken by Pujols' longevity.

"You look at projecting out the great hitters today, how long it would take them to get to 3,000 hits," Hinch said. "You start to realize how rare it is. Jose is off to a great start (1,295 hits entering Saturday's game). He is years and years and years of 300-hit seasons away from approaching that category. It is remarkable to see someone stand the test of time performance-wise. Evolve as a hitter and handle the scrutiny that comes with the decline stage of your career while still maintaining middle of the order-type presence."

Altuve, who had four straight 200-hit seasons, will turn 28 on Sunday. Pujols is 38.

Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.

Houston Astros, Jose Altuve