LA ROMANA, D.R. -- Children from 45 little leagues in the Dominican Republic were treated to baseball clinics last Sunday that featured Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion and other Dominican-born big league stars.
"This is the sixth time we've had these clinics, and we're committed to helping and giving back to the children and youth in my hometown," Encarnacion told MLB.com.
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, Orioles catcher Welington Castillo and Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco were among the Major Leaguers who spent around three hours with several hundred children from the region.
The event also included a tribute to former big leaguers Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura, who died in separate car accidents in the Dominican on January 22. The children who attended the clinic were told about the importance of personal responsibility in preventing such tragedies.
"We have to create awareness among the Dominican youth, starting with us as role models," said Encarnacion, who signed a three-year, $60 million contract with Cleveland this offseason.
Also honored at the event was former Major League outfielder and Dominican native Vladimir Guerrero, who was on hand to acknowledge the tribute.
"Thanks to Edwin and all of you for thinking of me," said Guerrero, who appeared on the Baseball Writers Association of America's Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year. He was named in 71.1 percent of overall ballots, just shy of the 75 percent required for induction.
During the event, Encarnacion also distributed baseball gear and uniforms to leagues in La Romana, while local business leaders from the region made financial donations for promoting baseball among local youth.This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.