The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers are likely to play regular-season games in South Korea next year, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. MLB has not confirmed the news. Padres infielder Ha-Seong Kim starred in the Korea Baseball Organization with the Nexen/Kiwoon Heroes franchise from 2014-20 and is one of the country's most popular players.
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, San Francisco Giants played the first ever regular-season games in Mexico City last weekend, and the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will play in London next month. Here is the league's tentative international schedule:. The Padres and
Puerto Rico/Dominican Republic
World Baseball Classic
There are five Korean-born players on MLB rosters right now: Kim, Ji-Hwan Bae and Ji-Man Choi (Pittsburgh Pirates), Rob Refsnyder (Boston Red Sox), and Hyun-Jin Ryu (Toronto Blue Jays). Refsnyder was born in South Korea and adopted by a California family as an infant. Choi (Achilles) and Ryu (Tommy John surgery) are currently on the injured list.
Ryu, one of the greatest Korean pitchers ever, is expected to return from elbow reconstruction later in the season. He will be a free agent after this season and, if the 36-year-old continues pitching next year, a return to the Dodgers (or even signing with the rival Padres) and a trip to the Korea would be a storybook beginning to the new season.
MLB has played regular-season games in Australia, London, Mexico City, Puerto Rico, and Tokyo. Korea would be new territory, as would the Dominican Republic next spring and Paris in June 2025. Based on MLB's trips to Tokyo, the Korea games would be played about a week before Opening Day, while spring training games are being played stateside.
The NL West rival Dodgers and Padres will wrap up a three-game weekend series at Petco Park on Sunday night.