Detroit — At 1:30 p.m. Friday, the Tigers’ brain trust huddled around a large swatch of damaged turf in the outfield at Comerica Park.
General manager Al Avila, his top lieutenants David Chadd and John Westhoff, manager Brad Ausmus and trainer Kevin Rand — as well as a group of Blue Jays personnel — were inspecting the damage left by the combination of a Metallica concert on Wednesday and subsequent heavy rains.
“It’s not pretty,” Ausmus said.
A diagonal strip of sod, extending from in front of the home bullpen in left field to the right-field wall, had been torn out and replaced. Grounds crew members worked feverishly lay new sod in and dry it.
“The grass, the sod doesn’t match up with what is normally laid,” Ausmus said. “The sod that is normally laid comes from Wisconsin and they couldn’t get it here in time. So they laid it down, rolled it out, cut it – it looks worse than it is. And until they tell us otherwise, it’s all systems go.”
By 2:30 p.m., after balls were rolled across and it was tested for firmness, the new surface was deemed playable. Both teams had to cancel their post-All Star break workouts which were scheduled for the afternoon.
“I don’t know that the game was ever in jeopardy,” Ausmus said. “There aren’t really ruts, it’s just the color makes it look bad. They tried to roll it down flat because there is a difference in the grasses. They rolled it flat and cut it short so it will minimize any effect on players running on it or the ball.”
The Tigers head out for a seven-game road trip after the game Sunday. The plan is for the entire outfield to be re-sodded and the stadium refashioned for an international soccer match Wednesday.
Tigers head grounds keeper Heather Nabozny has been recovering from knee surgery.