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Sox vs. Yanks in Japan?


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This didn't work out very well for the Yanks last time, I really don't want the Sox going to the Far East to start the regular season.

Yanks, Red Sox may open '08 in Asia

Rivals reportedly among clubs considered for series in Japan

By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, bitter rivals in the American League East, could be headed for an Opening Day showdown in the Far East.

Major League Baseball has entered preliminary negotiations with several teams, including the Yankees and Red Sox, about playing exhibition games in China next March and opening the regular season in Japan, according to a report in Saturday's New York Times.

The Times reported that the Yankees and Red Sox would be favored candidates to open the season in Japan, given the native stars that comprise their clubs. In a telephone interview, Howard Rubenstein, the spokesperson for Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner, confirmed the Yankees' interest.

"There's a tremendous audience out there," Rubenstein told MLB.com. "With all of the players coming out of Asia, and the Yankees brand is the best in the world, the organization does have interest."

Rubenstein said that the Yankees' official position is known to Major League Baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres would also be thought of as choices to make the trip, the newspaper reported.

On their current rosters, the Yankees boast left fielder Hideki Matsui and pitcher Kei Igawa, while the Red Sox own the rights to pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima.

At Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman declined to comment on the report, saying that he had nothing to add.

The Yankees' link to the Far East has gone beyond player acquisition. In January, team president Randy Levine, Cashman and assistant general manager Jean Afterman visited China on an excursion that announced a partnership with the Chinese Baseball Association, a link that the Yankees hope will someday yield Major League Baseball's answer to the National Basketball Association star Yao Ming.

The Yankees also agreed to allow Chinese teams and officials to use their training facilities in New York and at Legends Field in Tampa, Fla., while swapping coaches and trainers to help the CBA's burgeoning program.

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