Yankees' first, second games switched
NEW ORLEANS -- Major League Baseball plans to flip-flop the first two April series between the Yankees against Tampa Bay, having New York return to Florida from Japan instead of opening the North American part of its season at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees would play a two-game series against Tampa Bay at the Tokyo Dome on March 30-31 under the plan the commissioner's office is negotiating.
Before the Japan trip was proposed, New York's original schedule had the team opening at home against the Devil Rays on April 5 and 7, then playing a four-game series at Tampa Bay from April 12-15.
Under the new schedule, the Yankees would return from Japan to their spring training camp in Tampa, play exhibition games that weekend, then play at the Devil Rays on April 5 and 7, a baseball official said Saturday under the condition of anonymity.
Tampa Bay would go to Yankee Stadium the following week, the official said.
An agreement for the Japan trip could be finalized next week, according to the official. Thus far, the talks have been between the commissioner's office and the Yankees.
"No one has spoken to us about it," Devil Rays owner Vince Naimoli said Friday night.
The commissioner's office expects the Devil Rays to agree to participate.
"I'm on the international play committee and have been in favor of international play," Naimoli said.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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