Thu, Jun 09, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Major League team to visit Taiwan, but opponent is unclear

Staff Writer, with CNA

A team of Major League Baseball (MLB) players will visit Taiwan in November for a series of exhibition games, a sports promotion company announced earlier this week, but it may have trouble finding a local opponent.

Bros Sports Marketing, which arranged the Los Angeles Dodgers’ visit to Taiwan in March last year, said a 25-man team would play four games around Taiwan in early November.

The list of 60 players it invited included New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Washington Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who have both expressed interest in coming to Taiwan.

Cano’s father, Jose Cano, who once pitched for the Houston Astros, played in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) from 1992 to 1994 and again from 1998 to 1999.

Taiwanese MLB pitchers Wang Chien-ming and Kuo Hong-chih were invited to return to their home country with the other MLB players.

Though the promoter anticipated that the team of major leaguers would face CPBL teams, the league said a day after the announcement that its clubs might not participate because of a conflict with the Asia Series in late November, according to media reports.

The Asia Series, which will be played for the fifth time this year after a two-year hiatus, usually features the champions of professional baseball leagues in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea and an All-Star team from China to determine an Asian club champion.

A team from Australia will be added to the mix at this year’s tournament, to begin in Taiwan on Nov. 25.

CPBL officials said the series is one of the most important annual events for Taiwanese baseball, and the CPBL champions were not likely to disrupt their preparations for the exhibition series.

Players from the league’s other three teams were also expected to help the league champions get ready for the Asia Series and might also not be available, the league said.

Taiwan’s baseball association, which is in charge of amateur baseball and putting together national teams for international tournaments, has not confirmed it would field a team for the MLB exhibitions, Richard Lin, the executive secretary of the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association, was quoted as saying.

Lin believed it would be better to have a professional team play the US major leaguers because most of the players on Taiwan’s national team are younger amateurs.

Bros Sports said more details regarding the exhibition series would be revealed at the end of the month.

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