If the players union agrees to the addition of Japanese teams to spring training, up to four teams could be training in Tucson in 2011, playing games against their MLB brethren.
Though nothing has been firmed, it’s looking good for Nippon Professional Baseball teams to be training at Tucson in 2011. MLB has unofficially given its approval to the efforts by the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority to work out a deal where multiple Japanese teams train at Tucson Electric Park and Hi Corbett Field and play games against MLB teams. While Pima County officials would prefer to see a slate of games in Tucson, we’re told the more likely scenario is for a handful of games in Tucson, with it most likely consisting of visits of split squads from the likes of Arizona, Colorado and the White Sox — the teams formerly training in Tucson.
If the players union agrees — and it sounds like it will — Pima County will go back to the Japanese teams to firm up leases, and MLB will need to officially sign off on the arrangement. Time is a-wastin’: spring-training schedules need to be firmed up in the next month, although split-squad games can also be added later to the slate.
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