Padres' Triple-A club to play in Tucson in '11

Padres' Triple-A club to play in Tucson in '11

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' Triple-A team will move from Portland, Ore., to Tucson, Ariz., for at least one season and possibly longer.

In a press conference on Thursday held in Tucson, the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority and Padres vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad announced that the team will play its games in 2011 at Tucson Electric Park.

"We're very excited today to announce the intent to be here in Tucson," Moorad said. "We think it's a real win-win for all of us."

The Padres still envision having their top Minor League affiliate move to San Diego County, to a permanent home and a new ballpark in Escondido, Calif., where Moorad's North County Baseball group has been negotiating a ballpark project with Escondido city officials.

"We're hopeful that process concludes positively. It's interim [the move to Tucson], but we're open-minded," Moorad said.

Moorad said the team is still owned by Portland owner Merritt Paulson, though the plan is for Moorad's ownership group to purchase the team by December.

"We're in the process of closing a transaction," Moorad said.

The transaction is pending the necessary confirmations from the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball.

Tucson Electric Park was built in 1998 and has a capacity of 11,500. The ballpark has been without Triple-A baseball since 2009, when the D-backs moved their top affiliate to Reno, Nev.

The ballpark has previously been used by the Chicago White Sox and D-backs for Spring Training.

Last month, Paulson issued a statement saying that he agreed to sell the team to Moorad.

Paulson sold the team because PGE Park in downtown Portland is currently undergoing renovations. It's being converted into a soccer-specific facility that will accommodate a Major League Soccer team, the Portland Timbers, in 2011.

The Padres like the idea of having their Triple-A team closer to San Diego, which would create flexibility as far as shuffling players back and forth between the two teams.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.