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 Dodgers, Padres to play May 2018 series in Monterrey


            There WAS some good news for the Mexican League last week, when it was officially announced that the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers will meet the San Diego Padres for a three-game series in Monterrey early next season.  The set will take place May 4 through 6 at Estadio Monterrey, Mexico’s largest ballpark with a capacity of 27,000.


This will mark the third time the Padres have hosted MLB games in Monterrey.  San Diego played a set against the New York Mets in August 1996 and then battled the Colorado Rockies in their April 4, 1999 season opener.  The last time MLB teams ventured south of the border was in March 2016, when the Padres and Houston Astros played two games at Mexico City’s Estadio Fray Nano.  This will be the first-ever Dodgers regular season foray into Mexico.


The upcoming Dodgers-Padres series had originally planned for Mexico City’s new 13,000-seat ballpark, but the facility was already behind schedule even before September’s devastating earthquakes exacerbated some pre-existing structural problems.  Citing uncertainty over whether Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu will be ready by May, both Major League Baseball and the Monterrey Sultanes announced the series would be moved to the northern city, as had been speculated for weeks.  The Sultanes, who led Minor League Baseball in attendance this year, are already linking tickets to the series with season ticket sales for the 2018 Mexican League season.


Besides stars like Clayton Kershaw,  Dodgers players who might make the trip are first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Julio Urias and outfielder Alex Verdugo.  Gonzalez was thought to be joining the Jalisco Charros for the second half of the Mexican Pacific League season, but the LA front office may want him to rest after an injury-plagued 2017.  The Padres lineup is expected to include Guadalajara-born third baseman Christian Villanueva, who hit .344 with four homers in 12 games for San Diego in a September call-up.  Villanueva was BBM’s Winter MVP in 2015-16 after a .322/9/38 LMP season for Obregon.


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