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Orioles not picked for exhibition in Cuba

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during a May news conference in New York.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during a May news conference in New York. (Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)

From the "Where did this come from?" file: Since there was so much interest from teams wishing to participate in an exhibition game in Cuba this spring, Major League Baseball apparently decided to have a lottery to decide which team would get the opportunity.

And it won't be the Orioles.

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Commissioner Rob Manfred selected the Tampa Bay Rays to be that team by picking a ball out of a bin at the league offices in New York on Friday afternoon.

There's no secret that several teams were interested, including the Orioles, who have been positioning themselves for a return trip to Cuba for nearly a year since the U.S. began restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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But holding a random lottery to decide which team would go wasn't public knowledge.

There's no guarantee there will be an exhibition in Cuba this spring, but Manfred said this week at the GM Meetings that he was optimistic one could take place during spring training.

The Orioles are the last major league team to play in Cuba. They played against the Cuban National Team in March 1999 in Cuba and then hosted the national team at Camden Yards in May.

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