Moya not concerned about playing on turf

Moya not concerned about playing on turf

ST. PETERSBURG -- Steven Moya remembers dreaming about playing in a Major League game at Tropicana Field a couple years ago. He was playing a Spring Training game at Tropicana Field at the time.

Moya was one of the Tigers' prospects the team brought over from Lakeland, Fla., to fill innings during one of their end-of-spring exhibitions against the Rays on April 4, 2015.

"It was fun. It feels like a long time ago," Moya said Thursday.

Moya wasn't thinking at the time about the impact the artificial turf would have on his long, lanky legs, especially his knees. And despite a sore right knee that sidelined him for a handful of days over the past week, he isn't thinking about it now.

Though there are just two artificial-turf stadiums left the Majors, the Tigers hit both of them on their three-city, 11-game road trip to close out the season's first half. Eight of those games will take place on turf.

It would've been a bigger problem when the Tigers had more veteran position players with knee issues, such as Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen. Nowadays, their biggest knee concern is Victor Martinez, and he can stay off the turf as a designated hitter.

Moya is still young at 24, but his 6-foot-7 frame can put some pressure on those legs.

"Sometimes your legs can be a little sore, because it's turf and your body's not used to it," he said Thursday. "But I'm trying not to think about it. Just go out there. Just get a good warm-up and that's it."

Manager Brad Ausmus, too, isn't overly concerned. With left-handers starting for the Rays the next couple of days, Moya can sit in favor of the right-handed-hitting Mike Aviles.

"He'll get his days here and there," Ausmus said.

Quick hits

• Right-hander Kyle Funkhouser, the Tigers' fourth-round pick in this month's Draft, made his pro debut earlier this week with three scoreless innings and three strikeouts for short-season Class A Connecticut. The University of Louisville product allowed two hits.

• Infielder Casey McGehee, who was optioned to Triple-A Toledo last week after a brief appearance in a Tigers uniform, will represent the organization at the Triple-A All-Star Game. The veteran corner infielder will be the starting third baseman for the International League All-Stars. He entered Thursday batting .315 with 20 doubles, five home runs and 31 RBIs for the Mud Hens.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.