Flowers says Braves not complaining about field

Flowers says Braves not complaining about field

ATLANTA -- Braves player representative Tyler Flowers said he has not received a request from any of his teammates to lodge a complaint to the Major League Baseball Players Association regarding the playing surface at Turner Field.

"I think there are normal complaints, whether they're serious or joking, in batting practice at every stadium in the [United States]," Flowers said. "You've got to blame it on someone, because it's not your fault. It's just how we are. But really beyond that, I really haven't heard much else."

Flowers was asked by reporters to address this matter in regard to an story that said some Braves players were considering asking the players' union to pressure the club into making improvements to the Turner Field playing surface. The report was published on Thursday after the Dodgers had committed four errors (three on Tuesday) during the first two games of this week's series against the Braves.

The only on-the-record comments included in the story were provided by Dodgers players.

"I would have been surprised if it had been our guys complaining, because Ed Mangan for me is one of the premier groundskeepers in the business and he's right there [by the dugout during games]," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He'll do whatever we ask him to do. I would have been really surprised and disappointed if it had been coming from our clubhouse."

Mangan has served as the Braves' head groundskeeper since 1991 and the field director for each of the past 16 Super Bowls. He has long been considered one of the most highly regarded individuals in his field.

Gonzalez spent some time on Friday talking to Mangan, who acknowledged the stadium's hybrid Bermuda grass needs a couple more weeks of warm temperatures to gain optimal status. Braves right fielder Nick Markakis, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, was foiled by a bad hop during Wednesday night's game.

Still, while there might be some concerns about baseballs occasionally snaking through Turner Field's outfield grass, the complaints heard from the Dodgers seemed to focus on the infield dirt, which was given some extra attention from the Braves' grounds crew on Friday afternoon.

Mangan and his crew have already acquiesced to Braves veteran shortstop Erick Aybar's request for the infield dirt to be watered more heavily before games. Aybar's defense has been better this week than it was during the season's first two weeks, when he seemingly provided a nightly reminder that Andrelton Simmons was no longer Atlanta's shortstop.

Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia entered Friday having committed six errors through his first 27 chances, but half of those errors were committed on the road.

"We've had errors and we've had teams make errors against us," Flowers said. "But I haven't seen anybody kick the dirt or rip up some grass because of it."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.