Florida will welcome Major League Baseball’s spring training for the 125th year this month when 15 teams return to the Sunshine State to polish their skills for the 2013 season.
Two Major League Baseball teams, the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins make their spring training homes in Fort Myers.
Fort Myers in Lee County has been the spring-training home of the Boston Red Sox since 1993, when the team moved from Winter Haven’s Chain of Lakes Park. The Red Sox train at JetBlue Park at Fenway South, a new complex that hosts enough training facilities for both the minor league and major league squads.
The Minnesota Twins have made Hammond Stadium at the Lee County Sports Complex their spring training home since 1991. The Sports Complex is also home to two of Minnesota’s minor league affiliates, housing both the Miracle of the Class A Florida State League and the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Twins.
The Red Sox 2013 Spring Training schedule features 38 games, including 35 against Major League opponents.
The Red Sox launch their Grapefruit League schedule at home on Saturday, February 23, at 1:35 p.m. against the Rays, the first of six spring match-ups with their division foe. They host Tampa Bay twice more, including St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17, at 1:35 p.m. Boston plays at home against the New York Yankees on Sunday, March 3, at 1:35 p.m. and plays them in Tampa, Wednesday, March 20, at 1:05 p.m. Additional division matchups include five tilts with the Orioles and three with the Blue Jays.
The Minnesota Twins schedule features 19 home games at Hammond Stadium.
The Twins’ 2013 Spring Training home opener will take place at Hammond Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 24 against the Tampa Bay Rays with the first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. EST.
Additional highlights of the Twins’ 19-game home Grapefruit League schedule include three games against the AL Wild Card Baltimore Orioles with the first being played on Thursday, Feb. 28, a visit by the Puerto Rican World Baseball Classic squad on Wednesday, March 6, a visit by the AL East Division Champion New York Yankees on Friday, March 22 and a visit by the NL Central Division Champion St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, March 25.
The Red Sox and Twins are scheduled to face each other a total of eight times, with four contests each at JetBlue Park and Hammond Stadium. Boston has eight scheduled night games this spring, including seven at home.
See Boys of Summer in Spring video from the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau