TORONTO – The Orioles haven't played their first game on the Rogers Centre's controversial new artificial turf, but they've already had their first adventure on it.
Third baseman Jimmy Paredes was hit in the face during batting practice today, taking a bad hop off the turf to the right side of his face.
Paredes is OK, according to a team spokesman, and is available off the bench today. He wasn't in tonight's starting lineup.
Paredes was taking grounders at third base when a batted ball by Steve Pearce hit a seam in the turf and took a strange bounce, hitting Paredes in the face. He walked off the field holding the right side of his face, accompanied by head trainer Richie Bancells.
The new turf, which was installed in March is already drawing criticism for its slow playing surface and bad hops. According to a Fox Sports report, Major League Baseball is currently monitoring how the turf is playing.
Before the game, a few Orioles pitchers watched the Blue Jays take some early BP bunting drills and noticed that the ball dies after a couple bounces, much like falling into a pile of sand.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that he spoke today with former Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis about the turf. Markakis' Braves played here over the weekend.
"He said it was different," Showalter said. "We'll see. Just because something's different, it doesn't mean it's bad. We'll see."
Other pregame notes:
-- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy's progress from a left shoulder strain hasn't improved in about a week. He is still dealing with some discomfort at the end of his swing.
Hardy flew to Virginia this morning to join Triple-A Norfolk to would out there because they are to only Orioles affiliate currently playing at home.
For the second straight day, Hardy did not take live batting practice, instead only fielding grounders and hitting off a tee. He could resume live hitting on Wednesday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
The Orioles still believe that once Hardy is able to begin a minor league rehab assignment, he won't need many games until he will be ready to rejoin the team, but there's still no timetable for when he would be able to start a rehab assignment.
"There's nothing imminent, but it's proceeding," Showalter said.
While in the minor leagues, Hardy missed nearly the entire 2004 season with surgery to repair multiple labrum tears in his left shoulder.
-- Catcher Matt Wieters is slated to catch two to three innings in an extended spring game on Friday in Sarasota. That would be the first time he is allowed to completely exert himself on throws since he was shelved following one Grapefruit League game last month.
Showalter said Wieters, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery last June, has been doing some throwing, including game-simulated drills and throwing from 150 feet.
-- Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, currently on the disabled list with a Grade 1 partial PCL tear and MCL sprain in his right knee, was fitted for a PCL brace on Tuesday. That means that the swelling in the knee has gone down significantly since he injured it in Friday's game.
-- Pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, who is recovering from a slight fracture of his right fibula, will throw from a half mound on Wednesday.
-- Right-hander Dane De La Rosa (left meniscus surgery) is slated to start pitching in extended spring games next week .
Here are the starting lineups for today's game:
Everth Cabrera SS
Steve Pearce 1B
Chris Davis DH
Adam Jones CF
Delmon Young LF
Travis Snider RF
Manny Machado 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Bud Norris RHP
Jose Reyes SS
Josh Donaldson 3B
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Dioner Navarro DH
Russell Martin C
Dalton Pompey CF
Kevin Pillar LF
Ryan Goins 2B
Mark Buehrle LHP