On the first day of the General Managers meetings in Orlando, Fla., MLB officially announced the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will square off for a three-game series at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey in Mexico, during the 2018 regular season.
The weekend set is scheduled for May 4-6, with the Padres serving as the home team in each game. The series takes the place of a previously scheduled matchup between the clubs at Petco Park. It comes during Cinco de Mayo weekend, a holiday that is more widely celebrated in the United States than Mexico.
The international foray is a first for the Dodgers since they faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia, for the Opening Series of the 2014 season. Los Angeles played a two-game exhibition series in Monterrey in 1991.
Prior to MLB making their announcement, speculation had the Dodgers and Padres likely meeting in Mexico City. It’s unclear if the September earthquake led the league to adjust the initial plans.
The Dodgers previously played in Mexico City when they faced the Red Devils in 1964, and the New York Mets in 2003. The Padres faced the Mets in Mexico City during the 1996 regular season.
As it presently stands, the Dodgers’ ties to Mexico strongly lie with Adrian Gonzalez, Julio Urias and Alex Verdugo. Yasiel Puig established residency in the country after defecting from Cuba and prior to signing his contract.
“I’m extremely excited about returning home to Mexico to play a series against my former team, the Padres,” Gonzalez said in a released statement.
Whether Gonzalez, Urias and Verdugo will be with the club come May is certainly far from set in stone. Gonzalez’s desire is to become an everyday player in 2018, a difficult proposition with Cody Bellinger’s emergence.
Urias presumably will still be recovering from shoulder surgery, and Verdugo may simply be too far down the depth chart.