Rays selected for potential exhibition in Cuba

Rays selected for potential exhibition in Cuba

The Tampa Bay Rays will play in an exhibition game in Cuba this spring if Major League Baseball and the Cuban government can negotiate an agreement. The Rays were selected by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Friday via lottery.

Tampa Bay would likely face the Cuban national team in Havana if an agreement is reached.

A U.S. team hasn't played in Cuba since 1999, when the Orioles took on the Cuban national team in Havana. But Manfred has made improving MLB's relationship with Cuba one of his priorities since taking office early this year. Last month, the league sent officials to inspect the stadium in Havana in advance of a potential Spring Training game.

With the game in Cuba generating significant traction from numerous clubs -- including the Mets, Yankees and Dodgers, according to the New York Times -- Manfred opted for a lottery, selecting among the interested teams by drawing a baseball from a bin.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.