Feeling that they needed to add depth to their infield, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed LA native and former New York Mets infielder Justin Turner to a minor league deal last week. Capable of playing all four infield positions, the 29-year-old Cal-State Fullerton graduate fills a great need for the Dodgers after the departures of Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, Michael Young, Jerry Hairston Jr and Mark Ellis.
Heading into Spring Training, which got underway today, questions remain about the infield with Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero still needing more reps for the organization to feel comfortable handing him the second base job. Today, Turner was on MLBNetwork Radio and talking to Kevin Kennedy and Rich Herrera, he discussed what GM Ned Colletti told him about playing time:
I talked to Ned the other night. Basically said that they want Guerrero to be their guy and get lots of reps. I guess he’s been out in AZ the last couple of months working out. Also, with Dee Gordon making the transition over. He said myself as well will probably get a good look and get a good amount of playing time. Ned also said there’s an opportunity to crack the starting job at second base between the three guys.
Other players competing in camp will be Chone Figgins, Brendan Harris and Justin Sellers while prospect Miguel Rojas has gotten significant praise from Colletti this off-season. Even if he doesn’t break into the starting lineup, something Turner isn’t banking on, it sounds like there’s a good chance he’ll break camp on the roster.
In 86 games with the Mets last season, Turner hit .280 with two home runs and 16 RBI, but will be counted on to backup Juan Uribe at third base and possibly give Adrian Gonzalez some rest at first base. Assuming Guerrero is the Opening Day second baseman, Turner will be competing for one of the two final spots on the roster.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Video from Fan Fest