With Major League Baseball scheduling a season-opening series between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners in Japan, both teams will begin spring training early and take a break at the end of spring training.
The teams will participate in Japan Opening Series 2012, a two-game set scheduled for March 28 and 29.
"Major League Baseball is very pleased to give Japanese fans a chance to see the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics, two franchises with great popularity in Japan," said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. "Opening Series 2012 will be an excellent opportunity to bring the game of baseball to fans across the globe and to celebrate the many contributions to the game by Japanese players. Most importantly, with the shared love of baseball between our nations, I believe that we can use this event to further assist the ongoing relief efforts throughout Japan."
When the series ends, the two teams will return to the United State and finish their exhibition schedule. We're guessing neither team will return to Arizona: the A's traditionally schedule some games in the Bay Area before the beginning of the season, so the logical inference is that both teams will break Arizona camp around March 27. Though no specific dates have been announced, we're expecting spring training games to begin around February 29 or March 1, as the regular season begins April 5.