Yankees' first, second games switched

NEW ORLEANS -- Major League Baseball plans to flip-flop the
first two April series between the Yankees against Tampa Bay,
having New York return to Florida from Japan instead of opening the
North American part of its season at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees would play a two-game series against Tampa Bay at
the Tokyo Dome on March 30-31 under the plan the commissioner's
office is negotiating.

Before the Japan trip was proposed, New York's original schedule
had the team opening at home against the Devil Rays on April 5 and
7, then playing a four-game series at Tampa Bay from April 12-15.

Under the new schedule, the Yankees would return from Japan to
their spring training camp in Tampa, play exhibition games that
weekend, then play at the Devil Rays on April 5 and 7, a baseball
official said Saturday under the condition of anonymity.

Tampa Bay would go to Yankee Stadium the following week, the
official said.

An agreement for the Japan trip could be finalized next week,
according to the official. Thus far, the talks have been between
the commissioner's office and the Yankees.

"No one has spoken to us about it," Devil Rays owner Vince
Naimoli said Friday night.

The commissioner's office expects the Devil Rays to agree to

"I'm on the international play committee and have been in favor
of international play," Naimoli said.