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MLB and union to play games, invest $5M in Puerto Rico

By on August 25, 2016

New York Yankees designated hitter Carlos Beltran hits a sixth-inning, two-run, home run in a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in New York, Sunday, May 15, 2016. It was Beltran's 400th career home run. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York Yankees designated hitter Carlos Beltran hits a sixth-inning, two-run, home run in a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in New York, Sunday, May 15, 2016. It was Beltran’s 400th career home run. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball has agreed to hold games in Puerto Rico and will work with the players’ association to invest $5 million in developing baseball on the island.

The joint commitment will be paid out over the course of the next collective bargaining agreement. The current agreement is set to expire Dec. 1.

MLB didn’t announce any specific details on those future games. A two-game series in late May between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins was moved out of Puerto Rico because of concerns about the Zika virus.

MLB and the union announced the plans in a statement Wednesday. CommissionerRob Manfred says “Puerto Rico’s outstanding baseball tradition has produced great major league players and fans of our game” and hopes these moves will “allow Puerto Rican kids to play baseball.”

Union head Tony Clark says “efforts to help expand the sport’s popularity and participation there will benefit the entire baseball community.”

Despite a long baseball tradition, Puerto Rico has struggled to produce major leaguers recently. Only five players drafted from Puerto Rico since 2005 have played in more than 100 major league games.

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