It was learned shortly ago that Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner will be missing the first week or so of Spring Training games due to trying to recover from offseason knee surgery. The news isn’t all bad, though, since he’s still on pace to show up and play on Opening Day.
Turner hit .294 with 16 home runs, 60 runs batted in, and 55 runs scored last season. He posted 4.0 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement last season, a mark that actually was tops on the team among position players. That tells you just how valuable he was to Los Angeles’ 2015 campaign.
From Ken Gurnick on Twitter earlier this morning:
Justin Turner (knee surgery) won't play in big league games the first week, Dave Roberts said, but on track for Opening Day.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 29, 2016
This is actually an okay sign. It doesn’t mean that Turner’s recovery is going poorly in any way. It’s likely just a precaution being taken by the team and Turner in order to ensure that he comes back as healthy as can be and as ready as can be. It’s a very smart, calculated move by both parties.
So, what will Turner be doing during that first week of Spring Training games then? Well ..
Dave Roberts said Justin Turner (knee surgery) won't play in 1st week of exhib games at least. Can get ABs on minor league side when ready
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 29, 2016
It sounds like Turner will be using Minor League games to get ready for the big league stuff, and that’s pretty much a smart way to go about everything in this situation. It allows him to take a slower pace and be ready when he’s actually ready rather than pushing it for the sake of just getting out there.
Turner is now 31 years old, and nearly everyone is unsure of just how well he’s going to recover from this type of offseason knee surgery. It’s also a stretch to think he’s going to produce a similar season to what he had last year, but never say never in this line of work. The team will need his production this season.