Crews struggle to make Oakland field playable

Shane Victorino

Angels outfielder Shane Victorino watches as a piece of the outfield wall falls onto the field during the fifth inning at Coliseum.

(Jason O. Watson / Getty Images)

After Oakland Athletics Manager Bob Melvin made the short walk from the Athletics clubhouse to the field Monday afternoon, the first person he sought out was Clay Wood, the team’s head groundskeeper.

Wood had less than 22 hours to reconfigure the turf at Coliseum for baseball after Sunday night’s NFL exhibition.

And that wasn’t nearly enough time.

The Angels and Athletics had to cancel batting practice and most other on-field activities before the game, which ended in an 11-5 Oakland victory, to allow Wood’s team to paint over the football stripes and repair the grass. But when the game started, the hash marks and yard markers were still clearly visible, especially behind the mound.


Center field, where temporary bleachers were erected for the Raiders game, was even worse. The grass, already cut short, was trampled further by the grandstand and its plywood foundation and in other places the grass was worn away completely. So the grounds crew covered wide swaths of the outfield with green paint.

“Center field is the place that is probably the roughest,” Melvin said. “It’s pretty quick out there.”

It turned out left-center field wasn’t much better, with part of the padded wall coming unhinged after Angels outfielder Shane Victorino crashed into it chasing Danny Valencia’s fifth-inning double. Both teams left the field and the game was delayed 10 minutes so the wall panel could be repaired.

Wood had four days to make the field conversion after the Raiders’ first exhibition this year. And although the Raiders play two regular-season home games before the end of the baseball season, the shortest turnaround for those will be two days, more than twice what the grounds crew had Monday.


The Coliseum is the only stadium that houses a Major League Baseball team and an NFL team, although Yankee Stadium is also home to Major League Soccer’s New York City FC.

Thawing out Freese

Angels third baseman David Freese, who sat out five weeks because of a fractured right index finger, was traveling to Oakland after a minor league rehab assignment and is expected to be activated when big-league rosters expand Tuesday.

Manager Mike Scioscia said that as many as three other rehabbing players could be activated Tuesday. Infielder Taylor Featherston has been sidelined because of an upper-back issue, and outfielders Matt Joyce (concussion) and Collin Cowgill (right wrist) are also on the disabled list.

Second baseman Johnny Giavotella, out because of an disclosed medical issue, won’t join the team until it returns to Anaheim.

Help wanted

The Angels have interviewed assistant general managers Matt Klentak and Scott Servais for the general manager position. The team has not interviewed any outside candidates.


Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.

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