When the Los Angeles Dodgers placed Justin Turner on the 10-day disabled list in May due to a hamstring strain, he was hitting .379 and leading the Majors in batting by a wide margin. Due to time missed, Turner did not have the necessary number of plate appearances to qualify among the leaders.
He slowly made up ground, eventually logging the requisite plate appearances shortly after the All-Star break. Entering play Wednesday, Turner is hitting .329/.418/.537 with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, 62 RBI, a .403 wOBA and 153 wRC+.
A nine-game hitting streak was snapped in Tuesday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks and even with that stretch, Turner has fallen behind Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon, who is batting .379.
That means little to the 32-year-old, however, as Turner explained to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group that winning the batting title is not remotely a focus of his:
“Winning a batting title has never been an individual goal for me,” he said. “My individual goal is to take a good at-bat every time and not give anything away, situational hit when it calls to situational hit. Those are my individual goals. It’s not results-oriented. It’s more process-oriented.
“It’s not about winning a batting title. It’s about taking as many good at-bats as you can. Win as many games as you can. At the end of the year, see what happens.”
Throughout the season, Turner and other Dodgers have consistently put aside personal benchmarks and accomplishments in favor of the team’s goal — winning the franchise’s first World Series since 1988.
Should Turner overtake Blackmon, he’d become just the second player in Los Angeles franchise history to win the batting title. Tommy Davis hit .346 in 1962 and .326 in 1963 to lead the National League in batting each season.
Now in his fourth season with the Dodgers, Turner is batting .304/.378/.503 with 109 doubles, 68 home runs and 255 RBI in 497 games since making the team out of Spring Training in 2013. Last season, he slugged a career-high 27 home runs.
This year, Turner was named to his first All-Star Game, making the NL roster behind a groundswell of support in the Final Vote.