CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor carries the pride of Puerto Rico with him at all times, and after a long wait, he will get to ply his craft in his home country next season.
The Indians and Minnesota Twins will play a two-game series at venerable Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 17-18, 2018.
“It is a dream come true for me to play in Puerto Rico,” Lindor said in a release announcing the series.
The games, which are considered home contests for the Twins, will be the first regular-season contests in Puerto Rico since the New York Mets and Miami Marlins held a three-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in June of 2010.
Along with the 2010 series, Major League Baseball has made three other appearances at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. The Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays opened the 2001 season in Puerto Rico, and then, in both 2003 and 2004, the Montreal Expos played several regular-season games in San Juan.
In addition to MLB games, Hiram Bithorn Stadium, capacity 18,264, played host to the World Baseball Classic three times (2006, 2009, 2013), as well as international soccer games and concerts of world-renown acts such as Santana, Bon Jovi, Sting, The Beach Boys, Metallica and Billy Joel.
“When the Montreal Expos played in Puerto Rico, I remember going to those games and thinking to myself, ‘I would love to be here playing in front of my country and people,’” Lindor said. “Now that we have the opportunity next April, it is a dream realized for me. These will be the most memorable regular-season games of my career, for sure.”
Through 67 games this season for the reigning American League champions, Lindor has 68 hits, including 34 for extra bases (20 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs), in 268 at-bats with 41 runs scored, 30 driven in and 25 walks against 38 strikeouts.
Lindor leads the Indians in at-bats, ranks second in hits, doubles and home runs, third in walks, fourth in runs scored and tied for fifth in RBI.
Currently, the Indians and Twins are the top two teams in the American League Central Division. The reigning division/American League Champion Indians (37-32) hold a 1.5-game lead over the Twins (35-33) heading into tonight’s game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.