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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Parkview Field will host four games between the triple-A teams of the Padres and the Blue Jays, TinCaps president Mike Nutter said Monday.

Padres’ triple-A team to play 4 games here

The last time anyone saw him here, Simon Castro was throwing the only no-hitter in the history of the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

Now he might be coming back. And not because he’s being demoted, either.

TinCaps president Mike Nutter announced Monday that, next July, Parkview Field will play host to a four-game series between the San Diego Padres’ triple-A affiliate, the Tucson Padres, and the Las Vegas 51s, the triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Among prospective Tucson players are Castro and several other former TinCaps or Wizards, among them Cedric Hunter, Luis Durango, Luis Martinez, Mike Baxter and Jeremy Hefner.

The four-game set will be a Thursday-Sunday series running from July 14 through the 17th and will coincide with the final weekend of the Three Rivers Festival. The TinCaps are on the road at Burlington and Peoria that weekend.

“This just provides a great opportunity for the great fans in this region to come on out and check it out the highest level of minor league baseball,” Nutter said Monday. “In the 19 years I’ve been in this industry, I haven’t heard of another franchise that was able to do something like this. And it took some special circumstances to make it happen.”

What set it all in motion was the Padres’ triple-A affiliate’s relocation from Portland, Ore., to Tucson, a move precipitated by the Portland facility’s switch to an all-soccer configuration.

The move was announced in July; it wasn’t until a conference call Friday that the shifting to Fort Wayne of four of the team’s 71 home games was finalized.

“At one point, it was looking like it might be Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne and possibly Eugene (Ore.) and possibly Petco Park (the Padres’ home field), and all the other ones ended up going by the wayside,” Nutter said. “We never had anything in writing; we were just talking about it in concept, and they just kept saying it looks good, it sounds good.”

The four-game Triple A series represents yet another landmark event for a franchise and facility that in the last two summers has played host to the Midwest League All-Star game, a major country-and-western act (the Zac Brown Band) and Division I college soccer (Indiana vs. Notre Dame). And it’s another indication of the city’s standing as a Padres affiliate.

“We’re the only city in the country getting this,” said Nutter, who emphasized several times that this is a “one-time occurrence” only. “It’s a testament to the great relations we have with the Padres and the Padres commitment to Fort Wayne, Ind., and Parkview Field.”

Season ticketholders will be admitted to the games free and ticket prices otherwise will not be increased for the four-game series, Nutter said.

bensmith@jg.net

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