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Astros, Nationals looking at new spring training site in Palm Beach County

The Toronto Blue Jays have informed Palm Beach County leaders that they're no longer interested in relocating their spring training camp to the area, according to a story in the Palm Beach Post.

But the good news is that alternative plans which could save spring training in southeast Florida are in the works.

The paper reports that the Houston Astros have switched their focus from a proposed new ballpark in Palm Beach Gardens to a potential spring training site in Lake Worth. And the Washington Nationals, who were previously looking for a new camp site in the Orlando area in central Florida, would like to join them.

Lake Worth is 25 miles south of the Cardinals and Florida Marlins spring training home at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. The Palm Beach Gardens site, which was derailed by a group of angry neighbors near the proposed ballpark site, would have been about a 10 minute drive from Roger Dean Stadium.

The Cardinals and New York Mets, who train up Interstate 95 from Jupiter, are known to have clauses in their spring training site leases which allow them to exit the area if the number of teams in southeast Florida falls below four. The Blue Jays have decided to stay in Dunedin, in the Tampa Bay area, which is home to several club's spring training sites including the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. But it is a half-day drive between the bay and the southern Atlantic coast which makes spring training match-ups impractical.

The Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers all used to train on the Atlantic Coast but left in recent years, creating a crunch.

Having four teams within a half hour of each other makes life a lot easy for finding a spring training opponent.