Dodgers returning to Albuquerque

Triple-A affiliate leaving Las Vegas after seven seasons

By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com | September 18, 2008 1:45 PM

LOS ANGELES -- After seven seasons in Las Vegas, the Dodgers announced Thursday they will move their Triple-A affiliate back to Albuquerque, where they will be called the Isotopes.

The Dodgers' Triple-A club was in Albuquerque from 1972-2000 -- with Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero, Orel Hershiser, Davey Lopes, Mike Marshall, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza and Bill Russell all making stops -- and the city hosted the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate from 1963-71.

The Isotopes have built a new stadium, Isotopes Park, since the Dodgers were last affiliated with them, which is considered one of the finest facilities in Minor League Baseball. A franchise-record 593,606 fans visited the ballpark in 2008 to see the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate.

"We're very excited to be returning to Albuquerque," player development director De Jon Watson said in a release. "Their top-notch facility will undoubtedly help us develop future Dodgers and their fans have been following this franchise for many years."

Albuquerque won eight Pacific Coast League championships as the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate and three Texas League titles while a Double-A affiliate of the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will also move their Double-A home to Chattanooga, Tenn., after an eight-year run in Jacksonville, Fla. The Lookouts, who play at AT&T Field, had previously been a part of the Reds' organization.

"Our move to Chattanooga will continue to help bring all of our affiliates closer to home," Watson said in a release. "We look forward to making an impact throughout the city as our Minor League players continue to hone their skills en route to the big leagues."

The Dodgers' final move also involves distance, switching their entry in the Gulf Coast League to the Arizona Rookie League. They will be called the Arizona League Dodgers.

Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Class A Great Lakes will return for a third straight season and Rookie-level Ogden will remain a Dodgers affiliate for a seventh straight year. The Dodgers will also continue to field a Dominican Summer League team.

Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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