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Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement, “The globalization of our game continues to be paramount to Major League Baseball, and Australia is an essential part of our long-term efforts to grow the sport. We look forward to writing an exciting new chapter in international baseball history at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground next March.”

Dodgers President Stan Kasten said the team was eager to begin the season “in one of the most exciting and rapidly developing baseball markets on earth.” Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said “being at the forefront of spreading international goodwill on this prominent stage is a feat that we enthusiastically embrace and accept.”

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will play spring training games in Arizona on March 16, then leave for Australia and arrive on March 18. The teams will open the regular season on Saturday night, the 22nd, and meet again the next afternoon. Arizona will be the home team for both games.

“It should be a little tiring, but a lot of fun, too,” Kemp said.

There have been 28 major leaguers born in Australia, including Oakland closer Grant Balfour. The Dodgers have had five natives on their roster.


AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum in New York and Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report.