A wise man once said this of artificial turf: “if a horse can’t eat it, I don’t want to play on it.”
We as fans don’t have to play on turf, but we do watch games played on it, and it’s kind of a drag. Really, if I have a choice of games I’ll almost never watch a home Rays or Blue Jays game due to the turf. Not for philosophical reasons either. I mean, I don’t like turf, but I don’t turn the channel based on principle. It’s merely an aesthetic concern. Baseball doesn’t look right on the stuff, and it distracts me.
Which is why I’m interested in the announcement today that the Rays are getting new turf in Tropicana Field. It’s an AstroTurf brand surface, replacing the Field Turf they’ve had for several years. Among the tidbits in the press release is that “light is properly reflected, resulting in better looking field, both live an on film.”
So I guess I’ll probably watch some of the Rays-Orioles series that opens the season, if for no other reason than to see if the field looks better.
Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season as he suffered a lat injury in mid-March and has been on the disabled list since. He started a rehab stint in the minors last week, making a start for Double-A Reading on May 15 and another start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday.
Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic reports that Eickhoff went a twinge in the fingertips of his right index and middle fingers late in Sunday’s outing after throwing a curve and on the subsequent pitch. The Phillies have paused Eickhoff’s rehab as a result and will evaluate him further.
Eickhoff went on the disabled list in late August last year due to nerve irritation in his right hand, so this latest setback could be related to that.
Eickhoff showed promise early in his career, posting a combined 3.44 ERA in 41 starts between 2015-16. He struggled to a 4.71 ERA last year before ending his season early with the nerve issue. Eickhoff was one of the many prospects the Phillies got from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade.