Dodgers and Padres set for Mexico series in May
The Dodgers are headed to Mexico next season.
The Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play a three-game series May 4-6 in Monterrey, Mexico, according to a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly. An announcement is expected Monday.
The Padres will be the home team. The series in Monterrey replaces one the Dodgers and Padres had been scheduled to play in San Diego that weekend.
The regular-season series is the first of six that Major League Baseball plans to play in Mexico over the next four seasons, part of a dramatic expansion in international play.
MLB also plans to open the 2019 and 2020 seasons in Asia, and to play a series in the United Kingdom in each of those years.
The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins are scheduled to play in Puerto Rico in April, with Hiram Bithorn Stadium expected to be repaired after suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Maria.
The Dodgers last played internationally in 2014, when they opened the regular season in Australia, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers played a two-game exhibition series in Monterrey in 1991.
The Padres market extensively in nearby Mexico. Their international history includes a 1996 regular-season series in Monterrey against the New York Mets, made famous when dehydrated third baseman Ken Caminiti arose after receiving intravenous fluids, grabbed a Snickers bar and then hit two home runs.
The Dodgers have three prominent players of Mexican heritage on their roster, but it is unclear if any might be on the team when it plays in Monterrey.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is under contract for next season, at $22.4 million. However, amid an injury-plagued 2017 season, he lost his job to Cody Bellinger, who is expected to be announced Monday as National League rookie of the year. Gonzalez has said he hopes to play regularly next year, which could require a move to another team.
Gonzalez and outfield prospect Alex Verdugo played for Team Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Verdugo, 21, made his major league debut Sept. 1 and started four consecutive games, then did not start again. He batted .174 in 23 at-bats.
Pitcher Julio Urias underwent shoulder surgery in June. He is not expected to return by the time of the Monterrey series.
Players on the Dodgers and Padres each would receive a $15,000 bonus for the Mexico trip, according to the collective bargaining agreement. Non-playing personnel — primarily managers, coaches, athletic trainers and clubhouse staffers — would share in a $40,000 bonus.
The Pantone 294 fan club is expected to organize a Monterrey trip for Dodgers fans.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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