MEXICO CITY -- After a 12-year hiatus, Major League Baseball will return to Mexico City in March for two spring training games between the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres, the city's mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera, announced Wednesday.

MLB has not played games in Mexico's capital since March 2004, when the Astros faced the Marlins in a two-game exhibition series.

"I'm thrilled that the Astros will have the opportunity to play games in Mexico. The Mexican people have a great love for baseball, so I know these games will be very well received," said Astros general manager, Jeff Luhnow, who was born and raised in Mexico City.

The exhibition series will be played March 26-27 at Fray Nano stadium, a venue with a capacity of about 5,000 that serves as home of the Red Devils of the Mexican Baseball League.

Last year, Mexico hosted an exhibition game on March 29, when the Arizona Diamondbacks played the Colorado Rockies in Hermosillo, Sonora.