Mark Shapiro says the Blue Jays really don’t need natural grass


In 2014 reports began to circulate that the Blue Jays were looking into putting natural grass in Rogers Centre once the stadium stops being used for football as well as baseball. Which seems like an excellent idea. Baseball is better on grass than on turf and, perhaps more importantly, a lot of Jays players and would-be Jays players have cited the wear and tear artificial turf puts on their bodies. It’s something that gets mentioned often enough that you have to wonder if having the fake stuff puts the Jays at a competitive disadvantage.

While putting natural grass in Rogers Centre would be a pretty complicated undertaking, the impression left, based on multiple reports over the past year or two, was that it was going to happen. Yesterday, however, team president Mark Shapiro sounded like it’s not a done deal at all and may not, in fact, go down:

“In my opinion, we don’t need it. My opinion is clearly it would be better. It’s just a question of the alternatives and what are we going to have to choose between,” he said. “I like the game better, I think everyone likes the game better on natural grass. Do we need it? No.”

One can assume the “choose between” comment is a reference to the cost involved in putting in natural grass. Tradeoffs, you know.

Which might make some Jays fans a bit anxious. Jays fans who got super excited last year when Alex Anthopoulos traded for David Price and the Blue Jays surged in the second half. Then, as soon as Shapiro took over, word circulated that he criticized Anthopoulos for trading away prospects. Under Shapiro, the Jays were reported to have not even made an offer to Price in free agency.

In Cleveland, Shapiro was popular with ownership for his handling of the Indians finances. He kept costs low, at least, while attendance and win totals fell. Given the Jays’ approach to things over the past couple of months, you wonder if that’s what the Blue Jays wanted him for too. And whether the same results which were acceptable to ownership in Cleveland will be acceptable to ownership in Toronto.

Tyler Glasnow scheduled to rejoin Rays’ rotation

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to rejoin the rotation at Cleveland after missing nearly 14 months because of Tommy John surgery.

The Rays’ Opening Day starter last year hasn’t pitched this season after undergoing the procedure on Aug. 4, 2021.

“I think we’re pretty confident he’ll be starting for us,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said before the game with Toronto. “This is the first time he’s thrown pain-free in quite some time, so he’s encouraged by it.”

The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts last year and is a key addition as the Rays near a wild-card spot.

“Compared to the past, like, three years it feels way better as far as postday and the week leading into starts and stuff,” Glasnow said. “It’s good to have an UCL, you know.”

Cash said Glasnow will throw around 45 pitches in his initial outing, which should allow him to go two or three innings.

“Two innings of Glasnow is still a huge plus for our team,” Cash said. “Like to get three innings. If we do, great. If we don’t, that’s fine, too.”

Glasnow allowed one run, one hit, four walks and had 14 strikeouts over seven innings in four starts with Triple-A Durham.

“I’m really excited,” Glasnow said. “I’m approaching it like normal, staying on routine. Feels normal.”

Glasnow signed a two-year, $30.35 million contract that will delay the start of his free agency by one year last month. He’s making $5.1 million this year and will get $5.35 million next season and $25 million in 2024, which is the first year he would have been eligible for free agency.