By most accounts, the Los Angeles Dodgers upgraded their middle infield during the offseason. However, during the process they also got older as 31-year-old Howie Kendrick takes over for 26-year-old Dee Gordon and Jimmy Rollins replaces Hanley Ramirez, who is five years his younger.
Kendrick and Rollins join an infield with a pair of 30-something starters on the corners in 32-year-old Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe, who turns 36 on March 22. Aware of the veterans the infield is composed of, manager Don Mattingly indicated he’ll rely on Justin Turner to provide off days for the regular starters, according to SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo:
Mattingly says he will definitely consider planned off days in regular season for Rollins, Uribe & Gonzalez. JT will play all over. #Dodgers
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) February 27, 2015
The Dodgers struck gold with the Turner signing last year, who fell into their lap after being non-tendered by the New York Mets. Signed to a Minor-League deal, Turner made the roster out of Spring Training and proved to be invaluable as a pinch-hitter and utility player throughout the infield.
Turner played in 109 games in 2014, which was the second-highest total of his six-year career and only eight shy of tying his career-high. A majority of his time came at third base (45 starts, 59 games total) as Uribe was twice sidelined with a hamstring injury.
While Turner spent most of his time filling in at third base, he also logged 23 games at second and 15 at shortstop. Living up to his super-utility player moniker, he played two games at first base for good measure.
In times when Turner was called on as a pinch-hitter, he batted a remarkable .400/.406/.500 with 10 RBIs in 32 plate appearances. The Dodgers learned from the Mets’ mistake and tendered a contract to the Long Beach, Calif. native in December and later avoided arbitration by signing Turner to a one-year deal.
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