When it was learned that third baseman Justin Turner would be missing the first week of Spring Training games, there was some concern about just when he was going to return to action. Yesterday, though, we learned that Turner would return early this coming week, and the Los Angeles Dodgers need to have him on the field in order to win this season.
Even more news was learned today, though, when we found that the team is preparing to use Turner as a designated hitter during the first game that actually gets out there for in Spring Training. In all actuality, that’s a wise move to make with him since it’ll limit his wear and tear early on.
From Dodger Insider on Twitter shortly ago:
Justin Turner's first game back when it comes will be as a DH, but he's taking grounders in drills, etc., says Dave Roberts.
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) March 5, 2016
According to manager Dave Roberts, it sounds like Justin Turner is on the right track to return to full health and full function relatively soon. If he’s already taking grounders in drills and doing other stuff, that means he’s not far behind on the recovery front. In fact, he’s right on track.
Using him as a DH in the first game is definitely the right move, and the team will need Turner to replicate the season he had in 2015, or at least come close to it. The veteran hit .294 and had a .321 True Average last year in 439 plate appearances. He also had 16 home runs and 60 runs batted in. He also led the team in Wins Above Replacement.
Turner is going to be the every day third baseman, or at least used a lot at third base when he’s not getting a day off here and there, and that’s a crucial position for the team right now as they lack a real piece behind him who can alleviate some of his burden. It’s almost Turner or bust at this point.
The 31-year old will be in his third season as a member of the Dodgers in 2016, and we all hope he continues his path to success as he’s been fantastic during his first two years with the team. We’re all on board with the redhead.