Shaun Marcum shaky in 2013 debut

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Shaun Marcum, fully recovered from a neck injury, made his debut both for the 2013 season and as a Met this afternoon in Queens against the Phillies, but it didn’t go quite as well as he had hoped. The right-hander allowed three runs in the third inning, including allowing a lead-off single to opposing pitcher Jonathan Pettibone, and he uncorked a wild pitch facing Michael Young as well. Manager Terry Collins lifted him after four innings in favor of lefty Robert Carson, who promptly allowed five runs in the fifth.

Speaking to the media after the game, Marcum wasn’t satisfied with his outing. Via ESPN’s Adam Rubin:

“It’s not what I wanted from a statistical standpoint or helping this team,” Marcum said after surrendering three runs on five hits and two walks in a 71-pitch effort over four innings. “I wasn’t very efficient with my pitches there in the second and third inning. My pitch count rose pretty quickly in those two innings.

“As far as health, everything felt pretty good.”

Marcum is a welcome addition to the Mets’ rotation as Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner have struggled in their first handful of starts, posting a 5.96 and 5.14 ERA, respectively.

The Yankees and Red Sox will play on artificial turf in London

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Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:

Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.

Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.

At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.

Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.

It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.

Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.