By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Phillies are back in town, for a pair of exhibition games at Citizens Bank Park tonight and tomorrow, before the season kicks off for real on Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

More than 40,000 fans are expected to back the park tonight to see the Phillies in Philadelphia for the first time in 2012.

Phillies’ marketing director Michael Harris says just as they did for last year’s “On Deck” series, players will be making surprise appearances throughout the ballpark.

“If you’re in the right place at the right time — and that’s the key, whether you’re at an entrance gate or a concession stand or even sitting in your seat — you might be very surprised to see who’s next to you at some point during the game,” Harris tells KYW Newsradio.

Fans will also notice new turf.   Head groundskeeper Mike Boekholder (in photo) says after hockey’s Winter Classic, new Riviera Bermuda sod replaced the old bluegrass.

“It’s going to give us a surface that’s most likely more consistent as the season goes on,” he says.  “As it gets hotter during the summer months, the Bermuda grass witll actually get better.”

No doubt fans are hoping the team does, too.  The home opener is Monday, April 9th.

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