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Field expected to play faster after football game

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals head groundskeeper Bill Findley had a look of exhaustion as he and his crew wrapped up their work preparing the Busch Stadium field for Monday night's game against the Nationals. They had all worked almost around the clock converting the surface back for baseball after hosting a college football game between Southeast Missouri State and Southern Illinois on Saturday.

Findley said that 13 truckloads of sod were brought in to replace the outfield grass that had been torn up during the football game. The areas of the outfield that were not replaced still showed a few yard markings and the end zone.

The work started late Saturday afternoon, immediately after the conclusion of the football game. Findley had his team return to Busch Stadium around 7 a.m. CT on Sunday and they worked until close to midnight. They returned early on Monday to finish.

Manager Mike Matheny and third-base coach Jose Oqunedo were among those who surveyed the field Monday afternoon before the Cardinals went out for batting practice. Both expected the outfield to play a bit faster due to balls skipping off a harder surface.

"Looks like the grounds crew did a good job with what they had to try and make happen here," Matheny said. "It's not easy. We've got a very, very good grounds crew here. These guys work real hard and I'll be interested to see how it plays."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
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