Academy notebook: Athletes learning from Pudge

August 23rd, 2019

The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota, hosted Hall of Fame catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez on Friday, June 16, for a special opportunity for some aspiring baseball and softball stars.

Approximately 45 athletes from the Academy’s 12U baseball and softball programming heard from the former Rangers great in a Q&A session, participated in drills and received photos and autographs. Rodriguez served as a roving instructor and discussed hitting with the participants.

It was Rodriguez’s second visit to the facility, as he worked with catchers in June.

“It was really special seeing a few of the kids’ faces light up as Pudge approached the batting cages. Ivan did a great job discussing hitting and approach with them, but most importantly emphasized the value in listening to your coaches and showing respect,” Juan Leonel Garciga, Texas Rangers Director Youth Academy & Youth Baseball/Softball Programs, said.

So Long, Summer

Two hundred students from the Dallas area headed back to school this week with brand new backpacks and school supplies, thanks to a Back to School Distribution held at the Academy on Friday, Aug. 16.

Former Texas Rangers outfielder Justin Ruggiano and Rangers Captain helped hand out the gear to students ages 7 through 12.

The event was presented by Capital One Bank, The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, the Buckner Foundation and Mercy Street.

Joey Gallo’s Academy Athletes of the Month

Dylan Ha and Jocelyn Flores were the August winners of the Joey Gallo’s Academy Athletes of the Month award, and they were rewarded for their efforts with a special trip to Globe Life Park on Friday, Aug. 16.

The athletes met Gallo during batting practice, received a Joey Gallo Academy Athlete t-shirt and baseball and were honored on the field before the game.

Ha played on the 11U Academy team that placed second at the 11U Rangers Youth Ballpark tournament on July 27. The Dallas native is 11 years old and has participated in summer programming at the Academy.

Flores, also 11 years old, has been a regular at softball programming this summer at the Academy. She attends St. Mary of Carmel School.

Each month from May through August, Academy coaches selected one female 12U participant and one male 12U participant who stood out, demonstrating great sportsmanship and character.

Looking Ahead

Fall programming begins Sept. 16 and runs through Nov. 21. There will be no programming Oct. 14-18 or Oct. 31.

Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. will feature activities for 18U athletes. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. will be designed for 12U athletes. Additionally, the weight room will be available to 18U athletes from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and Mondays and 5:00-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Registration opens Friday at