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The Globe and Mail

Blue Jays confirm exhibition games in Montreal

Baeball fans fill Olympic Stadium to watch the Montreal Expos play their final home game against the Florida Marlins in Montreal, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2004.

Associated Press

The Blue Jays open the 2014 season against Tampa Bay on Monday, March 31, after closing out spring training with a pair of exhibition games in Montreal with the New York Mets.

Following a four-game set against the Rays at Tropicana Field, the Jays will come home to play the Yankees and Houston Astros in a pair of three-game series, starting on Friday, April 4.

Major League Baseball released the 2014 schedule on Tuesday.

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The games in Montreal, scheduled March 28-29, will be the first played at Olympic Stadium since the Expos moved following the 2004 season.

A group led by Warren Cromartie, the former Expos outfielder, is trying to bring baseball back to the city. Together with building a new stadium, an investment upwards of $1-billion would be required to relocate a team. Both Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A's have stadium issues, but Tampa Bay is locked into a long-term lease.

For the Blue Jays, the set gives the team a marketing opportunity, at a juncture of spring training when most regulars would be expected to play significant innings.

"We are excited to bring the Blue Jays to Montreal, play in Montreal and give the fans a taste of Major League Baseball again," Blue Jays CEO Paul Beeston said, in a statement.

In interleague play, three games are scheduled in Pittsburgh, May 2-4, giving travelling Blue Jays fans an opportunity to take in the idyllic PNC Park.

In other inter-league action, the Jays will play the Philadelphia Phillies in a home-and-home four-game set (May 5-8), St. Louis Cardinals at home (June 6-8) Cincinnati Reds away (June 20-22), former general manager Gord Ash's Milwaukee Brewers for a two-game set on Canada Day and July 2 then on the road (Aug. 19-20), and the Chicago Cubs at home (Sept. 8-10).

If the Jays are in the playoff hunt next season, it's worth noting that 13 of the final 17 games are scheduled against AL East foes, Baltimore (6), the Yankees (4) and Tampa Bay (3). The final seven games are at home, against the Seattle Mariners and Orioles.

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