Tigers revisit OF artificial surfaces on road swing
St. Petersburg, Fla. — So there are only two artificial surface playing fields left — and the Tigers will play on both during this trip.
They play four games here at Tropicana Field and three at the Rogers Centre, where the outfield remains artificial.
It’s not the ideal scenario for any of the Tigers’ outfielders, but especially not Steven Moya, who is dealing with soreness in his right knee.
“He will get his days (off) here and there anyway,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “It won’t be that big of a deal.”
Moya hasn’t played much, if at all, on artificial turf, so he isn’t sure what to expect.
“I heard from people that sometimes the legs can get a little sore from turf because the body is not used to it,” he said. “But I try not to think about it. Just go out there and act like it’s natural grass.”
Moya said he will do more stretching before the game. Asked if he would have to do more postgame treatment, he said, “Always do postgame treatment, always.”
Off the field, Daniel Norris is as laid back as they come. On the field, though, he’s a bundle of intensity — which has worked both for him and against him. Ausmus spent a lot of time before the game Thursday, during the team’s early batting practice, walking the outfield with Norris.
Presumably, the topic was getting Norris to better channel his adrenaline.
“He’s wound pretty tight,” Ausmus said. “It’s part of maturing as a player. Being able to harness that, or push it to the back of your mind if it’s affecting you negatively.”
Around the horn
From an offensive perspective, the Tigers will be sad to see June go. Their 278 hits were second in the American League, their .287 team average was third and their 144 runs, 137 RBIs, .351 on-base and .462 slugging percentages were fourth.
… Victor Martinez has done a fair bit of damage at Tropicana Field. In 40 games, he’s hitting .370, with eight doubles, eighth home runs and 25 RBIs. The .370 average is the highest among active players.
… Toledo third baseman Casey McGehee was selected to start for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game July 13.
Tigers at Rays
First pitch: 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
RHP Michael Fulmer (7-2, 2.40), Tigers: It will be nine days between starts for Fulmer as the Tigers try to ration his innings. He’s pitched 10 innings and thrown 174 pitches since June 12. No doubt he will be fresh; the question will be whether the layoff will impact his command and sharpness of his secondary pitches.
LHP Drew Smyly (2-8, 5.32), Rays: June was not kind to the former Tigers pitcher. In four starts, he allowed 18 runs in 232/3 innings, and opponents hit .302 with a .937 OPS. He’s given up a career-high 19 home runs in 89⅔ innings, third most in the American League. The Tigers beat him May 21, with Cameron Maybin and J.D. Martinez hitting home runs.