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09/28/2011 2:37 PM ET
Seattle Mariners open 2012 season in Japan vs. Oakland Athletics
Two regular season and two exhibition games are scheduled
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Major League Baseball announced earlier today that the Seattle Mariners are scheduled to open the 2012 season in Tokyo, Japan, March 28-29 against the Oakland Athletics.

The two-game Japan Opening Series 2012 at the Tokyo Dome will be "road" games for the Mariners. To account for the two regular season games that will be played in Tokyo, the previously announced games at Oakland on Sunday, April 8, and Thursday, July 5, will be off days. The Mariners 81-game home schedule is not affected by the games in Japan.

"The Seattle Mariners are proud to represent Major League Baseball and open the 2012 regular season in Japan against the Oakland Athletics," said Mariners President Chuck Armstrong. "More Mariners games have been televised in Japan over the past ten years than any other MLB team, so the fans there will be familiar with us. This will be a memorable experience for our players and our organization."

The nine-day trip in the middle of Spring Training begins Thursday, March 22, when the Mariners leave Phoenix for Tokyo. While in Japan, the Mariners will play two exhibition games (details TBD) in addition to the pair of regular season games against the Athletics.

The Mariners will return to Arizona on Friday, March 30, and resume the Cactus League schedule. The U.S. opening game of the 2012 regular season will be Friday, April 6, at Oakland.

The Mariners finally come home to Safeco Field on Friday, April 13 for the Home Opener and a nine-game homestand against the Oakland Athletics April 13-15, the Cleveland Indians April 17-19, and Chicago White Sox April 20-22.

Notes of Interest
- This will be the fourth time that the Major League Baseball regular season has opened with a two-game series in Japan. The last time was in 2008 when the Boston Red Sox and Athletics played in the Tokyo Dome.
- The Mariners were scheduled to open the 2003 season in Japan against Oakland, but 12 hours before the flight was set to leave from Phoenix to Tokyo, the trip was cancelled because the Iraq war had broken out the previous day. Bob Melvin was the manager of the Mariners in 2003, and now will lead the Athletics there in 2012.
- Television and radio coverage in the U.S. of the Japan Opening Series 2012 will be determined later.

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