Concerns about the Zika virus have prompted Major League Baseball to relocate a two-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins from San Juan, Puerto Rico, back to Miami, MLB and the MLB Players Association jointly announced Friday.
The series was slated to be played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium on May 30-31, but the decision was made to have the games played in Miami after players expressed concerns about transmitting the virus.
There have been 472 Zika cases from travelers who carried the virus to the U.S. after visiting affected countries or territories. Puerto Rico has had 629 cases, representing the highest number of locally acquired Zika infections among U.S. territories.
"The Pirates are disappointed that we will not be playing in San Juan this season," the team said in a statement. "We very much looked forward to this opportunity. However, the health and safety of our traveling party must be and is our first priority. As a result, the Pirates fully support the decision by the Commissioner and the Players Association to postpone the trip to San Juan.
"We are saddened by the circumstances in Puerto Rico and elsewhere that led to this decision. We are hopeful that the public health institutions can quickly eradicate the health risks that are regrettably affecting the Puerto Rican people. We look forward to an opportunity in the near future to return to Puerto Rico to play before the great Pirates fans who were so excited for these games."
Many games have been played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, including Opening Day 2001 between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers. The 18,264-capacity stadium was also the part-time home of the Montreal Expos in 2003 and 2004.