NEW YORK (AP) _ The Red Sox will open their defense of their World Series title in Tokyo next year.
Following months of negotiations, the baseball commissioner's office announced early this morning that the Red Sox have agreed to a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics in Japan on March 25th and 26th. The A's will be the home team.
With Daisuke Matsuzaka (DYS'-kay maht-soo-ZAH'-kah) and Hideki Okajima, the Red Sox figure to be an attractive draw for the games at the Tokyo Dome. The Red Sox and A's also will play exhibition games on the 23rd and 24th of March against Japanese teams.
After the trip, the two teams will return to the United States and play two games in Oakland on April 1st and 2nd. That originally was to be a four-game series.
The Japan visit is one of two Asian trips Major League Baseball hopes to make next year. Talks have been under way for months to have the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres play exhibition games in Beijing earlier in March, at the ballpark to be used for the 2008 Olympics.