Luhnow aims to increase relations with Mexico

Luhnow aims to increase relations with Mexico

HOUSTON -- If Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has his way, his club could soon be playing some exhibition games south of the border.

Luhnow, who was born and raised in Mexico City, returned Wednesday from a weeklong trip to his native country, where he met with U.S. ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne to discuss strengthening the flow of information and players between Mexico and the Astros.

Among the items discussed was the possibility of the Astros playing a Spring Training game in Mexico City, which the club did in 2004, with hopes of eventually having a regular-season series in Mexico City or Monterrey or both. Luhnow said there have been preliminary discussions about it with Major League Baseball, but a Spring Training game in Mexico couldn't be played in 2013 because of the World Baseball Classic.

"We have to work through a lot of issues," Luhnow said. "That would be a good outcome and it would increase fan interest in baseball abroad and the Astros specifically."

Luhnow said he and Wayne discussed ways for the Astros to get more involved in the Mexican community, and he said he the team's winter caravan could once again make a trip to Mexico like it had done in the past. Luhnow said baseball in Mexico is an untapped resource.

"There's a lot of talent that chooses to stay in Mexico instead of signing with U.S. clubs for various reasons," Luhnow said. "Major League Baseball has set up a task force to try and figure out how to address Mexico, in light of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and I've been assigned to this task force. ... The idea would be to figure how we could increase the flow of players from Mexico to the United States."