TORONTO -- Torii Hunter played nine seasons on artificial turf in Minnesota, but now that he’s 34 years old, his body doesn’t recover quite as quickly from the pounding.
“I’m sore everywhere,” Hunter said Sunday morning.
The Blue Jays installed new turf at Rogers Centre over the winter, but Hunter is not a fan. Angels manager Mike Scioscia gave Hunter his first day off this season Sunday after Hunter had an active day chasing down balls here Saturday.
Hunter said the new surface in Toronto is too soft.
“That turf is mean,” Hunter said. “Go run in the sand at the beach for about an hour and see how that works out for you.”
Originally, Scioscia wanted to keep his 30-something outfielders in the lineup for all three games here, but that plan didn’t work out. Bobby Abreu, who has had some nagging overall soreness, got Saturday’s game off.
The Angels’ tolerance for artificial turf seems to have waned over the years, even as they play on it less and less. A few years ago, Troy Glaus injured himself in Minnesota when a cleat stuck in the fake grass. They don’t play on it again until Sept. 17. Hunter joked that that would be his next day off.
Scioscia called the turf in Toronto a “truth serum,” because it reveals whatever body part is aching.
“I was just walking around and my rotator cuff was hurting,” Scioscia said.
Sticking it out
If they’re running out of patience with Brandon Wood’s struggles, the Angels aren’t letting on. Wood entered Sunday batting .088 and had made a team-high three errors, two on back-to-back plays Saturday.
Scioscia said even 100 at-bats won’t be enough to gauge how effective Wood will be this season. Thus far, he has 34 at-bats. Both Kendry Morales and Howie Kendrick struggled early in their careers, but now have established themselves. Kendrick’s .345 batting average since last July 4 is fourth-best in the league after Magglio Ordonez, Derek Jeter and Joe Mauer.
Wood maintains that his confidence is high.
“I get advice here and there from guys who have been through struggles. Other guys give me space to let me figure it out,” Wood said. “I’ve got to go figure it out on my own. This is my career and my opportunity and I feel confident I can go out there and play the game. This isn’t the end of the world for me.”