Blue Jays' Shapiro: Grass at Rogers Centre not a top priority

Blue Jays' Shapiro: Grass at Rogers Centre not a top priority

Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said that although he would welcome the idea of real grass at the Rogers Centre, it's not among his top priorities heading into his first season with the club.

“My opinion is we don’t need it,” Shapiro said Thursday during a media session with local reporters in Toronto.

While the Blue Jays' new executive admitted that a grass field "would be better" than AstroTurf, he did insist the current playing surface doesn't "detract from the game."

Shapiro added that "it's possible" that Rogers Centre could be equipped with a dirt infield as early as next season.

The Blue Jays signed an agreement in February with the University of Guelph to provide research on bringing natural grass to Rogers Centre for the 2018 season, though the transition from the current AstroTurf surface hasn't been smooth so far.

The team installed new turf for the 2015 season, which quickly became the source of some controversy. In April, the Baltimore Orioles reportedly planned to protest a game over Rogers Centre's field conditions after Jimmy Paredes was hit in the face by an errant ground ball in batting practice.

Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, is the only other ballpark in baseball that still uses an AstroTurf surface.

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