Twins to play 2 games in Puerto Rico in 2018

Kennys Vargas and Eddie Rosario will return home to Puerto Rico when the Minnesota Twins host the Cleveland Indians for a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan.

Playing Cleveland’s sports teams without using a passport? That was sooooo 2016.

The Minnesota Twins will host the Indians in Puerto Rico for two games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico next season, the team announced Wednesday.

“The Minnesota Twins are honored to visit Puerto Rico and represent Major League Baseball in this international showcase,” Twins President and CEO Dave St. Peter said in a press release. “The Twins look forward to joining MLB and the Cleveland Indians organization in celebrating Puerto Rico’s rich baseball heritage and growing influence on our game.”

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To be held April 17-18, 2018, the trip will be legitimate “home games” for four Twins players with roots in Puerto Rico. Starting pitcher Jose Berrios, outfielder Eddie Rosario and slugger Kennys Vargas were born there, and left-handed pitcher Hector Santiago’s grandparents hail from Puerto Rico.

All four players suited up for Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, where they made a deep run in the tournament but lost to the United States 8-0 in the championship.

Major League Baseball was last played at Hiram Birthorn Stadium from June 28-30, 2010, when the Marlins and Mets played a three-game series. In addition, the Montreal Expos played a combined 43 games in Puerto Rico in 2003 and ’04 while the Blue Jays and Rangers met there April 1, 2001. The Marlins and Mets were set to play again in Puerto Rico last season but the games were subsequently moved to Miami.

This announcement follows a trend of Minnesota vs. Cleveland matchups overseas. The Vikings will square off against the Browns in London this upcoming season on Oct. 29, although that’s an away game for Mike Zimmer’s squad.