Park to Start First Game in China

Korean pitcher Chan Ho Park will will throw the first pitch ever in a Major League exhibition game on Chinese soil after Manager Joe Torre announced he would start the start the March 15 game against the San Diego Padres in Beijing, China.

Left-hander Eric Stults will make the next start in China, on March 16.

The long flight to Beijing was scheduled for March 10, the team will depart from Orlando the following day because the charter company didn't receive approval to land in China before its deadline.

Team spokesman Josh Rawitch said the team will arrive about 20 hours later than originally scheduled.

"The only thing it really does is eliminate the off-day there," manager Joe Torre said. "It just makes sightseeing a little tighter. We'll work out at Dodgertown before leaving."

The team announced that players from seven countries will make the trip for the first major league exhibition games in that country. The Dodgers will face San Diego on March 15-16 at Beijing's Olympic baseball venue.

The roster includes:
Pitchers: Eric Hull, Mike Koplove, Kuo, Greg Miller, Justin Orenduff, Park, Matt Riley, Brian Shackelford, Eric Stults, Ramon Troncoso and Tanyon Sturtze.

Catchers: Danny Ardoin, A.J. Ellis, Lucas May.

Infielders: Angel Chavez, Garciaparra, Juan Gonzalez, Hu, John Lindsey, Ramon Martinez, Terry Tiffee and Sweeney.

Outfielders: John-Ford Griffin, Jones, Kemp, George Lombard and Wilkin Ruan.

Alternates: pitcher Brian Falkenborg, infielder Kevin Howard and outfielder Xavier Paul.

"What a unique opportunity, to go play baseball in another country," said Garciaparra, who chose to be member of the traveling party. "I haven't been to China, it will be difficult, hard on our bodies with all the travel. But I look forward to it."

The games will begin at 1 p.m. local time—10 p.m. in California on the previous two days.

The two exhibitions and the Olympics in Beijing give baseball a chance to show its appeal, with the sport dropped from the 2012 London Olympics but looking to return in 2016.

"I'm not excited for the flight time. I am looking forward to everything else about it," Sweeney said. "I'm a big fan of traveling, seeing different cultures. I know a lot of stuff is going to be new for us."

With Torre gone, Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda will manage a Dodgers' split squad in eight exhibition games in Florida. The 80-year-old Lasorda retired as manager of the Dodgers in 1996 after a heart attack.

Coaches Larry Bowa, Bob Schaefer, Mike Easler and Rick Honeycutt will stay behind to work with Lasorda.