DUNEDIN, Fla. — Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson isn’t putting too much emphasis on the new dirt infield being installed at Rogers Centre this off-season.
All that matters to the reigning American League MVP is the batter’s box.
“Wherever you’re playing you have to make adjustments to the field and the environment,” Donaldson said Thursday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium after reporting to camp. “I really love playing in the Rogers Centre so the fact of the matter is it’s not going to matter if it’s an all-dirt infield, grass, whatever.
“As long as I can hit there I’m fine.”
The months-long process to bring an all-dirt infield to the Blue Jays' home stadium began Feb. 10 and will be complete before Rogers Centre hosts its first game of the 2016 season on April 8.
The process involves excavation of the cement floor in the base path and infield areas. Layers of gravel, sand and clay will be inlayed in the excavated areas to ensure proper moisture content and conditions suitable to a major-league playing surface.
Tropicana Field -- the roofed home of the Tampa Bay Rays and the only other MLB stadium fitted with artificial turf -- also has a full dirt diamond connecting home plate to first, second and third base.
Donaldson hopes the new Rogers Centre infield doesn't share many similarities with the Rays' one, though.
"I'm kind of anxious to see what it's like. I know if it's like Tampa I'm not going to like it as much," he said. "Last year, I felt like the stuff (at Rogers Centre) wasn't very hard on the body, but I'm open to whatever.
"It's going to be an adjustment, just like anything."