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Published: Friday, 12/16/2011

Tigers will play Hens in Toledo

Exhibition will be Major League team's 1st at Fifth Third Field

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Detroit Tigers will play a game in 2012 in Toledo for the first time in 12 seasons -- and will visit Fifth Third Field for the first time since the ballpark opened in 2002.

The Tigers will play an exhibition game against the Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field on April 4 -- a Wednesday -- starting at noon. The game will mark the first exhibition game between the Tigers and Mud Hens since June 1, 2000, when the two clubs met at Ned Skeldon Stadium.

"We announce this event with great pride and excitement as it has been more than a decade since we have hosted a game like this and the first time at Fifth Third Field," Mud Hens president & general manager Joe Napoli said. "We would also like to thank [Tigers general manager] Dave Dombrowski, Dan Lunetta [Tigers director of minor-league operations], and the rest of the Detroit front office, who worked hard to make this event a reality.

"Our fans certainly will enjoy seeing the Tigers play here in Toledo. For many of the Tigers players, it will be a homecoming as so many of them have worn the Mud Hens uniform over the past decade."

The Tigers plan to take batting practice prior to the game, and the gates at Fifth Third Field will be open for batting practice. Normally the gates at Fifth Third Field are not opened until roughly an hour before game time.

All Toledo season ticket holders will have an opportunity to purchase game tickets, which will be priced at $20 for field level seats and $25 for club level seats. There also will be 1,000 individual tickets made available to the general public on Jan. 7 at 11 a.m., with a maximum of four tickets per person.

"We have a tremendous long-standing relationship with the Toledo Mud Hens," Dombrowski said. "This exhibition game gives Mud Hens fans an opportunity to see the Tigers at Fifth Third Field."

All proceeds from the game will be split evenly between the Helping Hens Charitable Fund and the Detroit Tigers Foundation. Helping Hens is the official charitable fund of the Toledo Mud Hens baseball club and is administered through the Toledo Community Foundation. The fund provides game tickets and meals to local youths as well as financial support to local nonprofits.

Detroit opens its season on April 5 at 1:05 p.m. at Comerica Park against the Boston Red Sox. Toledo will begin its season the next day at 5 p.m. at Fifth Third Field against Indianapolis.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.



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