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Rangers to partner with Buckner International

Company centered around Family Hope Centers, community programs
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

DALLAS -- The Rangers have nine days of full-squad workouts in Spring Training before their first Cactus League game.

Instead of going to Arizona, they could easily get their work done at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy in West Dallas.

DALLAS -- The Rangers have nine days of full-squad workouts in Spring Training before their first Cactus League game.

Instead of going to Arizona, they could easily get their work done at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy in West Dallas.

"I agree," Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels said. "Just the way this has turned out has blown our minds. We know it is going to reach a lot of individuals. Just to see the baseball side of it really blows you away. I think this will probably provide a lot of us who live in the area in the future to come in and the kids can come see us work out. "

Hamels made a significant contribution to the academy. The Hamels Foundation is providing the support for a variety of educational programs in the four classrooms.

The academy, at the Mercy Street Sports Complex, continues to grow as the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation announced Wednesday a new partnership with Buckner International. Founded in 1879, Buckner International serves the community through a number of programs designed to protect children and build strong families.

Those programs include the Buckner Family Hope Centers. Buckner will operate a satellite branch at the academy. Buckner currently operates 26 Family Hope Centers in Texas and six countries, and their work at the academy will be designed to help the children who use the facilities.

"There are opportunities to expand their vision and their experiences broader than just the field of baseball," said Dr. Ken Hall, who is on the Buckner board of directors. "One of the visions of this initiative was to be able to reach into families in this community, especially as it relates to children, in a more distinct way and seek to find a way to make a huge difference in the lives of boys and girls who come through here, to help them with all the other kinds of empowerment opportunities offered here."

Dr. Albert Reyes, the CEO of Buckner International, said the simple idea of playing a game of catch illustrates how baseball can bring families together.

"Baseball has a way of bringing people together like nothing else on the planet," Reyes said. "That is at the core of what we are doing. We will be using the idea of baseball as a way of strengthening families. Because it's around baseball that folks come together naturally."

The academy, which had its official ribbon-cutting ceremomy in December, has already had more than 3,000 student athletes work out at the facility. Members of the Pinkston High School baseball and Sunset High School softball teams were among those at the announcement on Wednesday.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Cole Hamels