After the 2013 season, Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said he experienced the worst offseason of his career. The New York Mets opted to non-tender Turner, making him a free agent.
Since then, life has gotten a lot better for the Long Beach, Calif. native. Turner is currently facing his former team in the National League Division Series and having great success against them. He once again came through with a big hit Tuesday night as he clubbed a two-run double down the left-field line to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead in a win-or-go-home game.
While some would argue the success against his old team is a validation of sorts for Turner, he’s routinely rejected that notion. The Cal State Fullerton product did so again after the Dodgers’ win in Game 4, via Anthony DiComo and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
I’m just glad we won,” Turner said. “That stuff’s all in the past. Has no effect on me. I’m a Dodger. Happy to be a Dodger and glad to take the series back to L.A. for Game 5.”
While batting in the fourth spot, Turner continues to be the hottest hitter in the series. In the four games played, the 30 year old is 7-for-15, leading both teams with a .467 batting average. According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, Turner’s success has even surprised Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw:
Honestly, I never thought he’d be this good of a hitter,” Kershaw said. “You know, he’s one of the best hitters in the game. It’s really impressive to see what he’s been able to do since he got to us.”
When the Dodgers signed Turner to a Minor-League contract before the 2014 season, it seemed to be a move merely to add depth to the club. He earned a spot on the roster out of Spring Training, and the rest as they say, has been history.