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Orioles To Host Cuba In May

The Orioles will play a return game against a Cuban national team in Baltimore on May 3, The (Baltimore)Sun reported Sunday.

The Orioles and Cubans already had agreed on an exhibition game in Havana on March 28, the first time in 40 years a major league team will play in Cuba.

On Thursday, officials arrived in Havana to prepare for the game and negotiate details.

Major League baseball and possibly the State Department were expected to make an announcement Monday or Tuesday, The Sun said, citing an unidentified source familiar with the negotiations.

April 3 had been under discussion for the Camden Yards game, but that was dropped because of the Cuban playoffs. Also, the Orioles' opening day is April 5.

"I think as players we would've preferred to play before the season started," B.J. Surhoff, the player representative, told The Sun. "Once the season starts, days off are valued very much."

He added: "When you play them, you're not going to play like it's Rochester or some minor league team. You're going to play that game to win. They're going to play to win."

Proceeds from the games will be used mainly to support baseball and other sports in the two countries. The use of the money had been a sticking point in the negotiations because the Clinton administration did not want profits to go to Fidel Castro's government.

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