The Gwinnett Braves know that they will play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on the road after the Class AAA All-Star Game. They just can't be 100 percent sure where.
The Yankees had to move their last four games before the break to other International League ballparks because of continuing drainage problems at PNC Field in Moosic, Pa.
"They are working very diligently and they don't feel that there will still be a problem for our series," G-Braves general Bruce Baldwin said Friday. "But the league does have a contingency plan."
If PNC Field is not playable, the four-game series beginning Thursday will be shifted to the Lehigh Valley ballpark in Allentown, about 70 miles away.
"We should be fine," Baldwin said. "It doesn't really create a travel problem for us."
Having an IL franchise trying to cope with field issues does bring back some bad memories for Baldwin, though. In 2004, similar problems in Richmond plagued the Braves and the entire Governors' Cup championship series had to be played in Buffalo.
"I think we lost about 15 home games," Baldwin said.
Like was the case in Richmond, a new ballpark or major renovations are needed for the Yankees. Natural grass was put over a drainage system built for artificial turf in 2007.
Two games over the Fourth of July weekend had to be postponed despite sunny skies, as did another game earlier, because the outfield was unplayable. The Yankees hope improved drainage, along with deep aeration, will solve the problem. New sod has been put down.
"We will have to take it homestand to homestand because we don't know if it will work," team president Kristen Rose told reporters.
Games on Thursday and Friday against Lehigh Valley were moved to the IronPigs' ballpark. Games today and Sunday against Buffalo will be played in Syracuse, N.Y. - more than 130 miles from either Scranton or Buffalo.
PNC Field opened in 1989 and the team was affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies until attracting the Yankees three years ago. Scranton won the Governors' Cup title last season and is in first place in the IL's North Division this year.
The stadium, which seats 10,310, was built by Lackawanna County as a multi-use facility and has fallen into disrepair in recent years as talk of a new ballpark has grown.