Although the Los Angeles Dodgers have stormed out to the best record in the National League and as one of the best teams in baseball, it has not come without some bumps. The latest is with Justin Turner, who recently was out of the lineup four consecutive games with right hamstring tightness.
Turner suffered the injury when scoring the tying run from second base on Cody Bellinger’s double in the ninth inning of last week’s walk-off win against the New York Mets. Turner missed the series finale and was projected to return against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Instead, he was limited to a pinch-hit appearance in the last game of the weekend set. Turner drew a walk and was immediately replaced by a pinch-runner. He started in the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
As planned, Turner was then out of the lineup Tuesday night. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained how the club intends to approach playing time for their All-Star third baseman over the next two-plus weeks, via SportsNet LA:
“For us as a staff and training staff and Justin, just getting his legs back under him, playing nine innings, there’s going to be some residual soreness. With the day game [Wednesday], guys playing well, just felt it was smart to get him down and have him available if we need him (Tuesday). … I think it’s going to be a couple weeks (of handling Turner cautiously). After Thursday, I think we go 17 in a row or something like that. In that schedule without an off day, I can easily see two, three days (for rest) in there somewhere.”
As for why the Dodgers did not simply elect to place Turner on the 10-day injured list when the hamstring trouble initially surfaced, Roberts doesn’t believe the team can avoid to lose his presence:
“He’s just too valuable on the bench. If there’s a big spot, he’s one of your best bats. To have people that can take three at-bats and play defense (is good), but to have him in a big leverage spot, we have no one that can do that. That presence, that at-bat if we need it, is huge.”
Turner is batting .303/.390/.436 with eight doubles, six home runs and 25 RBI over 55 games (49 starts). He enjoyed a particularly hot May, hitting five home runs, including a career-high three in one game.