MLB's return to Puerto Rico creates dream scenario for Francisco Lindor

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Francisco Lindor (front and center) represented Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Now he'll lead the Cleveland Indians to his home country in 2018. (AP)
Francisco Lindor (C) represented Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Now he’ll lead the Cleveland Indians to his home country in 2018. (AP)

The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins will play a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, next season. Major League Baseball officially announced the series on Wednesday, releasing a joint statement with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The Twins will be considered the host for the two-game series, which takes place on April 17 and 18, but it will be a true homecoming for Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who will play regular season games in his home country for the first time in his professional career.

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In the release, Lindor described the series as a dream come true for him on a personal level, and an opportunity for the league to connect with young players much the same way previous trips to Puerto Rico connected with him.

“It is a dream come true for me to play in Puerto Rico,” Lindor said. “When the Montreal Expos played in Puerto Rico, I remember going to those games and thinking to myself, ‘I would love to be here playing in front of my country and people.’ Now that we have the opportunity next April, it is a dream realized for me.”

Lindor played on Puerto Rico’s 2017 World Baseball Classic team, which finished runner up to the United States. Wearing his country’s uniform was obviously a great honor, but representing MLB and the Indians in his home country has just as much meaning, if not more. It’s an opportunity to share his dream with those who have supported him and helped make the dream a reality.

The 2018 series will mark the first time both the Indians and Twins have played a series in Puerto Rico. The Twins released a statement echoing Lindor’s excitement, as the series could potentially allow pitcher Jose Berrios, outfielder Eddie Rosario and designated hitter Kennys Vargas to realize the same dream.

“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 joint statement with the Indians. “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 has not held regular season games in Puerto Rico since 2010. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins were scheduled to play a two-game series there last May, but the series was postponed and eventually relocated due to concerns over the Zika virus.

Prior to 2010, MLB games were played in Puerto Rico during the 2001, 2003 and 2004 regular seasons.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!