The A’s could be headed to Mexico City in spring 2019 to play multiple exhibitions as part of Major League Baseball’s efforts to expand its international audience.
Oakland was in discussions to play in Mexico City this upcoming spring, according to A’s traveling secretary Mickey Morabito, but that idea was scratched because a new ballpark being built there is not quite ready yet. The A’s remain in play for two exhibitions in Mexico City in 2019 against a yet-to-be-determined opponent if the plans come to fruition.
The A’s most likely would send a split squad south of the border and leave another group in Arizona to continue Cactus League play, which is what they did in 2015 when they played exhibitions in Las Vegas.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned Mexico City, Charlotte and Montreal as strong contenders for an expansion franchise while addressing the issue during last season’s All-Star Game festivities. Mexico City, the largest city in North America based on population, currently is home to the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League.
The A’s always ask to be considered for international play, and their 2019 schedule may include quite the globe-trotting itinerary. In addition to potential exhibitions in Mexico, NBC Sports California confirmed that Oakland also is being considered for a return trip to Japan to open the ’19 regular season, as reported recently by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Oakland began the 2008 season with two games against the Boston Red Sox at the Tokyo Dome and returned there in 2012 for an opening series against the Seattle Mariners. A’s officials gave positive reviews on both experiences, and the team’s payout for games in Japan surely would be more than the gate for two games at the Coliseum.
The Los Angeles Angels, who signed Japanese star Shohei Ohtani this winter, would be a natural choice as one of the teams to play in Japan. The Red Sox and New York Yankees are considered leading candidates for a planned series in London later in the 2019 season.
The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins will play a two-game series in April of this upcoming season in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
We're accustomed to Ramón Laureano doing incredible things with his arm. But on Sunday, the A's center fielder made one of the most incredible catches to rob the Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernandez of a two-run homer.
That wasn't the end of the play, though. Laureano fired the ball back toward first base in an attempt to double off Justin Smoak. The throw sailed over past first base and almost went into the dugout, so Smoak tried to advance to second. That's when A's catcher Nick Hundley, who backed up the play in Oakland Coliseum's expansive foul territory, fielded the ball and threw to second to get Smoak.
It was such an incredible play that A's broadcaster Dallas Braden lost his mind as the action unfolded.
Before Sunday's game, A's manager Bob Melvin spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about what Laureano is doing on defense.
“We’ve seen [Laureano] do some big things, and now his name is getting around the league," Melvin told The Chronicle's Ron Kroichick. "Maybe they don’t run on him and you keep the double play in order. A lot of things transpire because of [a good arm], not just on the plays where he is throwing out guys.”
Melvin's words were prophetic, as Laureano made something incredible happen with his arm after the catch.
Keep doing incredible things, Ramón. We're enjoying this.
The A's have only won one of four home games since returning from their nine-game road trip, and they'll try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Oakland might have the right man taking the mound in left-hander Brett Anderson (3-0, 2.62 ERA) to get the team back on the winning track, as he's arguably been the A's top starter in the early portion of the season.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, will counter with right-hander Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.86), who is coming off a start in which he gave up four earned runs and two home runs in six innings.
This will be the first-ever Easter meeting between Oakland and Toronto. The A's have a 13-17 record on Easter since moving to Oakland in 1968, including a 10-12 record at the Coliseum.
Here are the full lineups for Sunday's A's-Blue Jays game:
Oakland Athletics (11-12)
LF Robbie Grossman
SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
DH Khris Davis
1B Kendrys Morales
RF Stephen Piscotty
2B Jurickson Profar
CF Ramon Laureano
C Nick Hundley
Brett Anderson, LHP (3-0, 2.62 ERA)
[RELATED: Piscotty calls out fan who ran on field, interrupted game]
Toronto Blue Jays (10-12)
2B Alen Hanson
SS Freddy Galvis
CF Randal Grichuk
1B Justin Smoak
LF Teoscar Hernandez
3B Brandon Drury
DH Rowdy Tellez
C Danny Jansen
RF Billy McKinney
Aaron Sanchez, RHP (2-1, 2.86 ERA)