Blue Jays will have dirt infield in time for coming season

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2015, file photo, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers play during the first inning of Game 2 of an AL division series in Toronto. The Blue Jays are installing a dirt infield at the Rogers Centre for the first time but say it is too early to determine whether they would replace artificial turf with grass in some future season. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
AP

TORONTO (AP) The Blue Jays are installing a dirt infield at the Rogers Centre for the first time but remained silent on whether they will replace artificial turf with grass in some future season.

Toronto announced Wednesday that work will begin next week to excavate about 12,000 square feet of concrete. The infield and baselines will be dug out to a depth of 12 inches and filled with layers of gravel, sand and clay.

Toronto and Tampa Bay are the only major league teams with artificial surfaces at their home ballparks. At Tropicana Field, the infield and baselines are dirt.

Before moving in June 1989 to what then was called SkyDome, the Blue Jays spent more than 12 seasons on artificial turf at Exhibition Stadium.

Former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston expressed a desire to install grass at Rogers Centre. Mark Shapiro replaced Beeston in November and said the following month that installing a grass surface must be weighed against other potential upgrades.

Before the 2015 season, the Blue Jays installed AstroTurf 3D Xtreme, which plays much slower than traditional artificial surfaces.