Astros CAREavan, Day 1: Austin and Brownsville, and lots of Astros players.

Every offseason wraps up with a few standard activities, one being the annual caravan, which spans several cities and gives fans a chance to see their Astros up close and in person.

The Astros’ annual trek, cleverly nicknamed CAREavan, took to the highways on Wednesday, with one group heading to Austin and the other south, to Brownsville.

Many of the young players expected to occupy a large portion of the 2012 roster are representing their team this week. Up-and-coming right-handed starter Jordan Lyles, outfielder J.B. Shuck and new addition Kyle Weiland — the right-hander the Astros received in the trade with the Red Sox — are on the Austin portion of the CAREavan, along with pitching coach Doug Brocail.

On the Brownsville trip are third baseman Jimmy Paredes, right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez and second baseman Jose Altuve.

The caravan featured school assemblies, Baseball and Softball clinics, a visit to the Ronald McDonald House and signings at Academy Sports + Outdoors.

The caravan will continue on Austin on Thursday, while another group — Jarred Cosart, J.A. Happ, Humberto Quintero and Larry Dierker — will head out for a two-day trip through San Antonio. Meanwhile, Altuve and his group will travel to Harlingen and McAllen.

Free autograph signings at Academy Sports + Outdoors on Thursday are as follows:

Thursday, February 2–Harlingen and McAllen, TX
Jose Altuve, Jimmy Paredes, Fernando Rodriguez, Alex Trevino

Academy Sports + Outdoors
3901 Expressway 83, McAllen, TX 78501
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 2 – San Antonio
Jarred Cosart, J.A. Happ, Humberto Quintero, Larry Dierker, Brett Dolan

Academy Sports + Outdoors
7523 N.W. Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78245
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m

A pictorial roundup of Wednesday’s activities:

The CAREavan crew participated in a school assembly at Cedar Park Middle School in Cedar Park, Texas, near Austin.

Fernando Rodriguez serves customers at Chick-Fil-A in Brownsville.

The kids at Lucio Middle School made cakes for each of the Astros players. Left to right: Rodriguez, Altuve, Paredes.

Group shot outside of RBI Austin.

The Austin caravan dropped by the Ronald McDonald House for dinner and mingling with families. Shuck, Brocail, Weiland, Lyles.

Weiland coaches kids at RBI Austin.

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