Dodgers, Padres to play series in Mexico

Three-game set in Monterrey scheduled for May 4-6

Dodgers, Padres to play series in Mexico

ORLANDO, Fla. -- For the first time in 19 years, Major League Baseball is returning to Mexico.

The Padres and Dodgers will play a three-game regular-season series this coming May in Monterrey, MLB announced on Monday. The games, which will take place May 4-6 at Estadio Monterrey, mark the first regular-season contests in Mexico since 1999.

San Diego is set for its third regular-season trip south of the border, while Los Angeles will be making its first. In 1996, the Padres and Mets played three games in Monterrey, the first series to be played in Mexico. Three years later, the Padres and Rockies opened the season there.

Remembering first time MLB came to Mexico

"As a team with a binational fan base and reach that extends into Baja California and throughout Mexico, we are excited to once again play regular-season games in Monterrey and help grow the popularity of our great game," said Padres chief operating officer Erik Greupner in a statement. "Baseball fans in Mexico are passionate about the game and we look forward to deepening our connection with them."

The announcement is the latest in MLB's burgeoning efforts to bring big league baseball to all parts of the globe. It's the first of six series to be played in Mexico over the next six seasons, with other plans for games in Asia and Great Britain, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Dodgers played a pair of exhibition games in Monterrey in 1991 but have only made one regular-season trip outside the United States and Canada. They opened the 2014 season with a two-game set against Arizona in Sydney, Australia.

Sanchez on series in Mexico

"The Dodgers are excited and extremely proud to be returning to Mexico," said Stan Kasten, Dodgers president and CEO. "The Dodgers have always been at the forefront of growing the game of baseball internationally, and this trip reinforces this commitment, while at the same time giving our many fans in Mexico a chance to see us compete."

The Padres' last trip to Mexico came in March 2016 with two Spring Training games against the Astros in Mexico City.

Both organizations boast a number of players with Mexican roots, with Los Angeles' Adrian Gonzalez the most notable of the bunch.

"I'm extremely excited about returning home to Mexico to play a series against my former team, the Padres," said Gonzalez, who was born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. "This series will be memorable for all involved, as we visit Monterrey to repay the baseball fans in Mexico for their never-ending support of the game we all love."

Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias, a Culiacan native, likely won't be recovered from shoulder surgery by May. Meanwhile, No. 2 prospect Alex Verdugo is of Mexican descent and played for Team Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He debuted in September and will compete for a roster spot this spring.

For the Padres, third baseman Christian Villanueva -- a fringe roster candidate -- is the only Mexican-born player on the 40-man roster. But infielder Luis Urias, the club's No. 3 prospect, is a native of Magdalena de Kino. It's a long shot that he'll be on the big league roster by May.

The three-game set replaces a series that was originally scheduled for Petco Park during the same dates. San Diego will be the home team in all three games.

"We look forward to playing in Mexico in front of some of the most passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans in the world," Padres first baseman Wil Myers said. "Both teams have a strong following south of the border and we anticipate a very warm and spirited reception when we visit Monterrey."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.