PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have announced plans for their annual Winter Caravan, which will kick off in Somerset, Pa., on Sunday, Jan. 24. From Jan. 24-28, two groups of players, coaches and broadcasters will visit a total of 16 communities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
"We always look forward to going out and thanking our fans for their continued support," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. "The caravan gives our players, coaches and broadcasters a chance to visit with fans and talk baseball as we head into PirateFest weekend and prepare for Spring Training."
A group that includes manager John Russell, broadcasters Bob Walk and Greg Brown, and players Andrew McCutchen, Kevin Hart and Evan Meek will make stops in eight of the cities, where they will host free autograph sessions, visit schools and attend various luncheons.
The second group -- third-base coach Tony Beasley, broadcasters Tim Neverett and Steve Blass, and players Ross Ohlendorf, Garrett Jones and Delwyn Young -- will visit another group of local communities and host similar activities.
Specific details on each scheduled stop and appearance can be found at www.pirates.com.
The caravan will immediately be followed by PirateFest, the three-day baseball carnival the Bucs host at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center from Jan. 29-31. The following players, coaches and alumni are tentatively scheduled to attend: McCutchen, Ohlendorf, Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Steve Pearce, Andy LaRoche, Lastings Milledge, Jones, Charlie Morton, Joel Hanrahan, Meek, Russell, Don Long and Bill Mazeroski.
Tickets for PirateFest, which cost $12 for adults and $4 for children ages 14 and younger, are on sale and can be purchased at www.pirates.com.
More information on the activities and autograph sessions at PirateFest will be available closer to the start of the event.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.