NEW YORK — Major League Baseball is working to finalize a two-game series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at Olympic Stadium in London on June 29-30 in 2019, the sport’s first regular-season games in Europe.

The Red Sox have the option of having both games be Boston home games, a person familiar with the planning said.

“I’ve never been to London,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. “So if that’s true, maybe I’m going to London. Anytime you can grow our game, I think that’s a pretty cool thing.”

Baseball officials have long hoped for games in London and settled last year on Olympic Stadium, which is in its second season as home of West Ham of the Premier League in soccer. Because it originally was built for a 400-meter track, it is wider than other large stadiums in the London area and can best accommodate the dimensions of a baseball field.

“This is something the two clubs have discussed for years with MLB and hopefully it will become a reality,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in an email.

MLB chose the June window because it’s after the Premier League season and before the stadium must be made available for summer track and field events. MLB hopes to make an announcement within the next two months.


Each player would get $60,000 for participating in the games, according to the collective bargaining agreement.

“I think it would be a lot of fun, to be honest,” Yankees first baseman Greg Bird said. “I think the travel would be interesting, how they set that up.”

MLB is playing regular-season games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Monterrey, Mexico, this year.

Baseball opened its season at Monterrey in 1999 (Colorado vs. San Diego); the Tokyo Dome in 2000 (Chicago Cubs-New York Mets), 2004 (Tampa Bay-Yankees), 2008 (Boston-Oakland) and 2012 (Seattle-Oakland); and at Sydney, Australia, in 2014 (Los Angeles Dodgers-Arizona).

Boston ace Chris Sale gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in five innings in a 6-5 victory against Philadelphia at Fort Myers, Florida. He also struck out six. Mookie Betts hit two doubles and Xavier Bogaerts homered for the Red Sox, who walked off with the win with a four-run ninth. Aaron Altherr homered for Philadelphia.

YANKEES: Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to start the regular season on the disabled list because of an oblique injury that has kept him out of exhibition games since March 1.


Ellsbury was scheduled to play Tuesday against Detroit, but his return was pushed back because of flu-like symptoms. He’s projected as a backup outfielder after losing the center-field job to Aaron Hicks last season.

ASTROS: Second baseman Jose Altuve and the team finalized a $163.5 million, seven-year contract.

Altuve, 27, had been among baseball’s best bargains. He agreed in 2013 to a deal that originally guaranteed $12.5 million from 2014-17, and included club options for 2018 at $6 million and 2019 at $6.5 million.

Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings and Carlos Correa homered for Houston in a 2-0 win over the Mets at West Palm Beach, Florida.

RANGERS: Texas claimed first baseman Tommy Joseph off waivers from Philadelphia.

The Rangers made the move a week after the Phillies designated him for assignment when they signed free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta.


DIAMONDBACKS: Manager Torey Lovullo said Zack Greinke won’t be the opening-day starter.

Lovullo said the tightness Greinke experienced in his groin in his latest start Wednesday led him to rule out his ace for his usual opening-day role.

METS: Jason Vargas, already scheduled for hand surgery Tuesday in New York, threw one final side session in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Even so, Vargas had his right hand bandaged beneath his glove, which he was unable to close completely because of the wrapping – an awkward problem that required another person to catch the return throws and give the ball to him.

BRAVES: Julio Teheran was picked as the opening-day starter. Teheran, a 27-year-old right-hander, will make his fifth straight opening-day start. He is 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in his first four, including six scoreless innings against the Mets last year.

The team’s top prospect, Ronald Acuna Jr., was sent down to the minor league camp.

DODGERS: Kirk Gibson, whose dramatic Game 1 walk-off homer off Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley catapulted the Dodgers to their last championship in 1988, and the team announced that the seat in the right-field pavilion seat where the homer landed will be painted blue and signed by Gibson.

The price of Seat 1 in Row D of Section 302, normally about $50 a game, will be raised to $150 a game this season, with $100 from each ticket going to help raise funds for Parkinson’s disease research. Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in April 2015.

NATIONALS: Max Scherzer was tagged for three homers and six runs in six innings in a 9-1 loss to Miami at Jupiter, Florida.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.