What Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly first described as a pimple gone awry, which required third baseman Justin Turner to visit the emergency room July 28, quickly but somewhat quietly escalated to a much more serious situation.
Turner in actuality had an MRSA infection — a strain of staph infection that can be difficult to treat given it is resistant to several antibiotics. The issue originated from an ingrown hair on Turner’s leg that the 30 year old scratched at, causing it to become inflamed.
“It definitely caught me off guard,” Turner said after Thursday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds in which he appeared off the bench. “I didn’t know a whole lot about MRSA, but when I found out I had it and people who have had it and how serious it was, it was a reality check.
“I’m glad Stan [Conte, Dodgers VP of medical services], the moment he saw it, sent me to the emergency room no questions asked.” Turner was sent to rehab at the club’s Spring Training complex, but needed to proceed cautiously so as not to sweat and irritate the infection.
He was spotted in the Dodgers dugout on Tuesday night, and did conditioning and baserunning drills prior to Wednesday’s game. Turner entered as part of a double switch in the fifth inning on Thursday, then led off the bottom half of the inning.
Fans gave Turner a big round of applause and he picked up where he left off by driving a long single off the short fence in right field. “It almost felt like the first day of the season,” Turner said of the warm greeting.
While the Dodgers’ third baseman wasn’t in the lineup on the first day being activated from the 15-day disabled list, Turner expects to resume his position as a starter. “I would have loved to have played all nine, but that was the plan all along,” he said. “I’m 100 percent comfortable with going out there and playing nine innings.”
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