The Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins will meet in a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 17-18, 2018, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced on Wednesday. The games will mark the first time that either team has played in Puerto Rico.
"It's going to be a dream come true," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "I always wanted to play in Puerto Rico in front of fans and now that we are going to have the opportunity next April, it's going to be unreal. I am looking forward to seeing my family and seeing the fans over there. It's going to be awesome."
The two-game set, which will serve as Twins home games, will represent the first regular-season games played in Puerto Rico since the Mets and the Marlins held a three-game series at the historic ballpark in June 2010.
"The Minnesota Twins are honored to visit Puerto Rico and represent Major League Baseball in this international showcase," Twins president & CEO Dave St. Peter said. "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."
MLB also held regular-season games in San Juan in 2001, when the Rangers and Blue Jays opened the regular season, and in 2003 and '04, when the Montreal Expos played a portion of their home schedule at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
"It seems to be a really good fit, at least given current rosters, of players that will have an opportunity to represent Puerto Rico," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We think the weather will probably be better in Puerto Rico than here in April. It will be an exciting trip for all those that get to take part."
Both teams are made up of a number of players from Puerto Rico, who also represented the team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The two players on Cleveland's active roster include catcher Roberto Perez and Lindor.
"I know it can be difficult getting people ready, but this really isn't that difficult to do," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We are going to go somewhere and play anyway, I think it's good for the game."
Meanwhile, the Twins players include slugger Kennys Vargas and outfielder Eddie Rosario, along with right-hander Jose Berrios. Left-hander Hector Santiago, who is currently on a rehab assignment with the Triple-A club, also took park in the classic this past spring.
"We are excited for the opportunity to play at home in front of our people and our families," Vargas said. "It's a part of my dream to wear a Major League uniform for my country and my town. It's great to get the opportunity to try and hit a home run for Puerto Rico."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.