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MLB to return to Puerto Rico with Twins-Indians series

Major League Baseball teams the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins will travel to Puerto Rico next year to face off in a two-game regular-season series.

The games will take place at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan on April 17-18. The series will mark the first time that either franchise has played in Puerto Rico.

The games will serve as home games for the Twins and be the first regular-season MLB fixtures to be played in the territory since 2010, when the New York Mets held a three-game series against the Miami Marlins.

The announcement comes after MLB last August pledged to stage regular-season games in Puerto Rico as part of an initiative with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to donate $5m (€4.5m) in funding to support grassroots efforts in the territory.

Twins president and chief executive Dave St. Peter said: “The Minnesota Twins are honoured to visit Puerto Rico and represent Major League Baseball in this international showcase. The Twins look forward to joining MLB and the Cleveland Indians organisation in celebrating Puerto Rico's rich baseball heritage and growing influence on our game.”

In May 2016, the Miami Marlins had been due to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in Puerto Rico as part of a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. However, due to concerns over the Zika virus on the island, the games were moved to Marlins Park, the Marlins’ home stadium.

The league also held regular-season games in San Juan in 2001, when the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays opened the season, and in 2003 and 2004, when the Montreal Expos played part of its home schedule at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.