Target Field was a patchwork of shades of green Friday, but it wasn’t entirely Kenny Chesney’s fault.
Building and removing the huge stage in deep center field for last weekend’s pair of concerts required a 250-foot stretch of grass to be resodded there, much as it was last summer after Paul McCartney staged a sellout show at the ballpark. But groundskeeper Larry DiVito’s crew had some extra work this year.
A ring of grass around the infield, from foul line to foul line, had to be replaced as well once Chesney and Jason Aldean left town. The new sod was at least 4 feet wide in most places, but closer to 20 feet behind first and second bases.
The reason: A heavy storm soaked the field the night before the first concert last Saturday, trapping some water under the tarp that protected the infield. The combination of water, the next day’s heat and the tarp created some mold damage, said Matt Hoy, the team’s senior vice president for operations — too much for the grass to recover quickly.
That meant the grounds crew had to act fast: The last piece of sod wasn’t put into place until Wednesday night, Hoy said.
“They really did a gargantuan amount of work in a short time,” Hoy said.
That includes going over the outfield with strong magnets to make certain no metal from the stage, or concertgoers, ended up hidden in the grass, a potential injury hazard for diving outfielders.
Buxton back at it
Byron Buxton fielded grounders and fly balls in the outfield before Friday’s game, and grabbed a bat, too. But he didn’t hit a ball.
“It’s a little bit different than I would imagine we’d have done 30 years ago — he did some swinging underwater today,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Resistance swinging that didn’t involve a baseball.”
In addition to working out in the training room pool, Buxton also swung a bat in the batting cage, but “only to get the feeling back,” Molitor said, in his left thumb, which was injured in late June. Once Buxton’s hand strength has returned, he should be ready to resume live batting practice.
Leave it be
Scott Kazmir was dealt from Oakland to Houston on Thursday, the first of what is expected to be several moves before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.
Since baseball’s addition of a second wild-card spot to each league in 2012, more teams are in range of a playoff spot, convincing clubs to wait longer to decide whether to be buyers or sellers at the deadline.
Commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday expressed a willingness to consider moving the deadline back, perhaps to mid-August, to help teams that are on the fence about contending.
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan is not an advocate of moving the deadline.
“I think it’s right where it belongs,” Ryan said. “We’ve argued about that trade deadline date for about 28 years. Some people would like to move it forward and some people would like to move it back. That’s why it always stays. There’s not really a consensus on that date.
“It seems like it’s about right.”
Not ready for the field
Miguel Sano took ground balls at third base during batting practice Friday, a sign the ankle he sprained Saturday has improved. But Molitor said he is not certain the rookie is ready to play the infield when Trevor Plouffe takes his paternity leave, expected any day now.
“He could probably do it,” Molitor said. “I’m just not sure he’s 100 percent to play defense. I’m not sure he’s my best option.”