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Hall: D-backs’ synthetic turf not an issue after Ketel Marte injury

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Ketel Marte makes a running catch on a ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers' Lorenzo Cain during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 21, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the decision this past offseason to switch to synthetic turf from natural grass.

The feedback since then seems to be mixed.

Most recently, Diamondbacks shortstop and center fielder Ketel Marte said Wednesday after suffering a back injury that his injury may have had to do with the turf. Then, he walked it back.

“It’s actually been something that has been bothering me for the past two months,” Marte initially said through a team interpreter. “The artificial turf took a toll on me and I just been dealing with for the past couple months. And then once I hit that double and I scored running the bases, then that’s when I was like, ‘No more.’”

However, Marte then said that the injury had more to do with playing center field for the first time.

“Well, you know, it’s really about my first year playing in center field,” he said through the interpreter. “I feel like next year, when I’m more used to playing center and I have all that experience under my belt, then my body will [be] more conditioned to play the outfield. Not as much about the turf. It’s about my body being used to playing center field for as long as it did.”

While joining Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Thursday, team president and CEO Derrick Hall responded to Marte’s comments.

“Well, we’re certainly going to look into that. We haven’t heard that. Medical staff hasn’t heard it. We’ve had no complaints,” he said.

“I think it’s been just the opposite. I mean this surface that we put in, the synthetic grass has been phenomenal. And we have teams that come in here like Florida [Miami], who just left with rave reviews and have asked a lot about it. … It’s a lot softer, it’s a lot safer, it’s cut back on the injuries. And when you see visiting teams come here and say, ‘Wow, this is so much better than what you had before,’ which was very dangerous and very hard before, I think it’s just the opposite.”

Hall was asked about it a second time, but in the context of whether it could have implications when it comes to luring free agents.

“I think it’s the other way, Doug,” he said. “Most of the guys have played on it. They’ve been here as visitors. So I think if they’re free agents, they’re either going to ask around and hear the positive results of it and good feedback, or they’re going to say, ‘I’ve played out there and it’s so much better than what they had before.’

“I think it’s actually going to work to our advantage. It’s such a better surface than what we had with dead grass and the skids and the injuries. And I think after year one — granted we’re still testing, we’re still seeing how it goes — but I think after year one, the results have been really, really good.”

Besides Marte, outfielder David Peralta also made a comment about it earlier in the season.

“Turf is turf; it’s never going to be like real grass and everybody knows that,” Peralta told The Arizona Republic in August. “We just have to be smart. It can get you pretty good with your hamstring or back and everything.”

However, Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, whose team played at Chase Field in April, said the turf wasn’t too bad, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“This turf is pretty good, better than Toronto,” Benintendi said. “It’s maybe more like Tampa, but less bouncy. When you drag your cleat across it you don’t get those rubber pellets. It’s more like dirt. It played pretty well.”

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