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Tigers, Twins will play spring training game in the Dominican Republic

The spring exhibition game is scheduled for March 7 in the capital city of Santo Domingo.


The Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins will play an exhibition spring training game in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, March 7, in the capital city of Santo Domingo.

The meeting between the two American League Central foes represents the first time MLB teams have played a spring training game on the Caribbean island since 2000. The game has not yet been officially announced — that will take place during the upcoming Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico, according to a local report.

The Tigers currently have four players of Dominican descent who are under consideration for the trip. Jeimer Candelario, who was born in New York City and moved back to the Dominican when he was five so his father could open a baseball camp, recently won the team MVP award for his performance with Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League and would have an excellent opportunity for a second hurrah in front of familiar fans.

Newly signed starting pitcher Iván Nova also hails from the island nation, emerging from San Cristóbal Province which lies just west of the capitol city, while relief pitcher Jose Cisnero also comes from nearby Bajos de Haina, a municipality sandwiched between San Cristóbal and Santo Domingo. The two 30-plus-year-old hurlers would likely welcome a return home to play in front of their friends and family.

Prospect fireballer Gregory Soto, who signed with the Tigers as an international free agent in December 2012 at the age of 17, is also native to the island. Unlike the others, he may be better off staying in Florida and working on his game — though he could very well be included on the roster for the trip given his background.

The Tigers kick off their spring training schedule on February 21 in Lakeland with their opener against local college Southeastern University at Publix-Joker Marchant Stadium.