Dodgers to play pair of exhibitions in Taiwan
Mid-March matchups will be vs. unnamed team from CPBL
While their Cactus League foes are training in Arizona, the Dodgers will take a few days to play in a country where they have a deep influence.
On March 13 and 14, the Dodgers will be suiting up in Taiwan, where they'll play two games against a team from the Chinese Professional Baseball League, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced in Taipei on Saturday.
The two-game set will not be part of the 2010 Spring Training schedule. Los Angeles' CPBL opponent has not been identified.
"I would like to thank the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the Chinese Professional Baseball League for making this historic event possible," MLB Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said in a statement. "Major League Baseball is committed to the continued international growth of our game, and we are excited to have the opportunity to bring these games to the great fans in Taiwan."
This will be the Dodgers' second trip to Taiwan, and it will mark the third time since 2008 that a big league team has traveled to Asia.
In 1993, the Dodgers became the first Major League team to play in Taiwan, when they competed against a team of CPBL All-Stars. Then, in March of '08, the Dodgers and Padres played two Spring Training games in Beijing, marking the first Major League games played in China.
Later that month, the Red Sox and Athletics opened the regular season with a two-game series in Tokyo.
"We're very excited to return to Taiwan and continue to strengthen the relationships that date back to the 1980s," Dodger owner Frank McCourt said in a statement. "The Dodgers believe wholeheartedly in the development of the game of baseball internationally, and we have many fans in Taiwan who we look forward to seeing in March."
The Dodgers' influence in Taiwan is unparalleled in the big leagues.
In 1996, they formed a working agreement with the Sinon Bulls of the CPBL, and the Bulls eventually became the first team from Taiwan to train in Latin America when they visited the Dodgers' facility in the Dominican Republic in 1997; they returned again in '98, '99 and 2003.
The Dodgers then became the first Major League club to sign a Taiwanese high school player when they inked left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo in 2000.
Of the six Taiwan-born players to appear in the Major Leagues, four have played for the Dodgers: Kuo, Chin-Feng Chen, Chin-Lung Hu and Chin-hui Tsao.
"On behalf of all Major League players, I want to thank everyone involved in the effort for the opportunity to bring Major League Baseball to the people of Taiwan," MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner said in a statement. "The Dodgers players look forward to playing before some of the world's greatest baseball fans."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.