Both Justin Turner and Chone Figgins made the trip to Australia with the Los Angeles Dodgers after making the roster following their spring showings.
Signed late in the off-season to minor league deals, Turner and Figgins were unsure of their future and now can feel some relief in the big leagues.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, making the team was a bit more special for the 36-year-old Figgins:
It’s almost more gratifying than being called up to the big leagues, said Figgins, released twice in the last two years. The last four years have been hard. I wouldn’t say it was life changing, but it makes me appreciate the hard work. I was with my wife when I got the call from my agent, and it was emotional.
Figgins was cut by the Seattle Mariners after the 2012 season and was released in the spring by the Miami Marlins last season. After being an All-Star in Anaheim in 2009, the utility player found himself away from the game and working to return this season. He hit just .167 this spring, but walked nine times and played six different positions to earn a spot on the team.
For Turner, he was in the big leagues last season with the New York Mets, but making the Dodgers brings a different type of happiness:
This time my family is excited because I get to stay at home, said Turner, who went to Cal State Fullerton.
Turner grew up in Long Beach and was a Titan at Cal State Fullerton. He makes his return to Southern California and will likely come off the bench, filling in around the infield for the Dodgers. Each player gives manager Don Mattingly some versatility off the bench, as well as a veteran presence and professionalism that the team lost in the off-season.
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