LYNCHBURG, Va. – Baseball players in the Hill City could still end up playing home games in Cleveland.
The Lynchburg Hillcats announced Wednesday that they’ve been formally invited by the Cleveland Indians to become their new Low-A affiliate.
“Although the last nine months has featured many unknowns, we are excited at the prospect of remaining with the Indians, a team we’ve been affiliated with since 2015 and an organization that helped deliver a championship to the Hill City in 2017,” said Hillcats President and General Manager Chris Jones. “We appreciate Cleveland’s commitment to top-notch player development and working with us to keep professional baseball in Lynchburg for years to come. We can’t wait to host baseball games again at Bank of the James Stadium and do what we do best -- provide affordable family fun to our passionate fans.”
The announcement comes as Major League Baseball has altered the minor league structure.
The pending move to Low-A ends a 30-year run for the Hillcats as an A-Adv. affiliate.
Lynchburg was last a Low-A club in 1989 as a Boston Red Sox affiliate. The new league name for 2021 and beyond is still being finalized.
Speaking of Boston, the Red Sox announced their lineup of affilliates which include Salem, Va, Greenville, Portland and Worchester. The invitation continues a more than decade-long partnership. But Salem, like Lynchburg, will move to a low-A affiliate after hosting an Advanced-A club since 1968.
The restructuring leaves the future fate of the Carolina league in question.