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Major League Baseball returns to Sacramento in March

Jemile Weeks was a star in both Oakland and Sacramento last season: .303 AVG in 97 games (OAK) .321 AVG in 45 games (SAC)

Before the Sacramento River Cats begin the 2012 season in defense of their 10th division title in 12 years, one of the most successful American professional sports franchises will host one of Major League Baseball’s most storied champions.

For the first time in half a decade Major League Baseball will be played in Sacramento as the River Cats host their parent affiliate Oakland Athletics on March 31, 2012. Following a successful 2011 season, in which Sacramento won its 10th Pacific Coast League South Division title, the River Cats kick off the 2012 season against some familiar faces who have found success at the Major League level.

The River Cats will host the four-time World Series champion Oakland A’s for a fifth time – the first four were sellouts – at Raley Field in West Sacramento.

Since moving to Sacramento in 2000, the River Cats have been one of Minor League Baseball’s most successful franchises – winning two Triple-A Championships (2007, 2008), four PCL Championships (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008) and drawing more fans than any other Minor League team over the past 12 seasons.

The roster of former Sacramento River Cats who had successful careers with the A’s and the rest of Major League Baseball is an elite one.

Sacramento has graduated more than 200 players to the Majors, including 2002 Cy Young Award Winner Barry Zito, 2002 American League Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske and Dallas Braden, who famously pitched the 19th perfect game in MLB history for the A’s on May 9, 2010.Braden, pitcher Brett Anderson, shortstop Cliff Pennington, catcher Kurt Suzuki and second baseman Jemile Weeks are among current A’s players who passed through Raley Field.

The March 31 exhibition game will be the first time a Major League team has played in Sacramento since the River Cats last hosted the A’s in 2007. In 12 years, Raley Field has hosted eight Major League games – four between the River Cats and A’s (2001, 2003, 2006, 2007), twice against the San Diego Padres in 2001 and the Colorado Rockies in 2004.

The A’s will hit the bags at Raley Field against the River Cats just two days after a five-game tour through Japan.

For more information visit www.RiverCats.com/Oakland

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