With Major League Baseball set to play another regular-season series in Monterrey, Mexico, next month, the general manager of one of the teams involved says he hopes the scheduling of games there not only becomes a permanent fixture but also includes a franchise south of the border whenever the commissioner's office authorizes expansion.
"This is very important for me," Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told SportsCenter Mexico on Wednesday. "It's very exciting to be able to go to Mexico as the general manager of a major league team, and hopefully in the future we will have a team in the league, either in Monterrey, in Mexico City or in Guadalajara."
"That's the idea of Major League Baseball and for us is to have this on a regular basis... until one day we have a team in Mexico," he said.
Houston will play the Los Angeles Angels on May 4 and 5 in the third MLB series in Monterrey this season. The Cincinnati Reds played the St. Louis Cardinals on April 13 and 14, and the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks played a pair of spring training games.
"It's the idea of the baseball commissioner [Rob Manfred]. We are going to expand the league in the future, and there are several candidates, possibly Las Vegas, possibly Montreal, Canada, but we are also exploring the option of Mexico and possibly also England or Europe," said Luhnow, who was born and raised in Mexico City. "I'm going to fight to get a team in Mexico because it would be ideal."
Luhnow told SportsCenter Mexico in Spanish that MLB projects to add more teams in the future.
"There are a lot of fans, and a lot of good players in Mexico," the Astros GM said. "It's a great opportunity for the league and also for the country."
Roberto Osuna, from Sinaloa, Mexico, is the first-place Astros closer. He joined the team last season in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I know that [Astros president] Reid Ryan is keen on growing the number of Mexican ballplayers coming to the club," Luhnow said. "There's a lot of talent and a lot of players who don't get the opportunity to play in the U.S. I think that could change with scouts [and former MLB players] like Edgar González and Jaime García and others who will be involved in increasing the number of Mexican players to be successful in the big leagues. I'm going to support a lot of this."
"We have signed many Mexican players to our farm system, and hopefully in the future we will have many more," he said.