Justin Turner went from a minor-league deal to unsung hero of the NL West champions. The utility infielder hit .340 with 43 RBIs in 109 games for the Dodgers, and constantly came through with clutch hits. Turner has been one of the faces of the team this offseason, being seen at countless charity events and autograph signings.
The former New York Met did have one issue last year, a hamstring injury that cost him some time on the disabled list, and he worked on that this winter via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
I think the key to anything is obviously being on the field and staying healthy,” Turner said. “That was my emphasis this offseason, was to focus on that. Get stronger, get leaner, do some running stuff and prevent any breakdowns.”
Th 30-year-old got most of his playing time at third base last year, filling in for Juan Uribe when he missed time with injuries. Turner also spent time at shortstop, second base and even first base. While the Dodgers lost Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon, Turner was not promoted to everyday player because the team also acquired Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick. It will be essentially the same role this season for the Cal State Fullerton alum.
While Turner is unsure exactly how he will be used, he assumes that he could see most of his time at third base again:
I haven’t talked to Donnie. I don’t know how he’s going to approach it, but I think they’d like to keep Uribe healthy throughout the year,” Turner said. “They might have built-in days off for him but I haven’t talked to Donnie or Wallie (bench coach Tim Wallach).”
Whether it’s at third or any spot in the infield, the Dodgers will hope that Turner can stay healthy and repeat his 2014 performance.