This spring was far from the easiest for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as they dealt with a plethora of injuries. They were initially confined to the starting rotation, but then position players began to fall victim to the injury bug.
However, not all was lost, particularly for Justin Turner. Coming off microfracture knee surgery, the Dodgers were cautious in ushering their starting third baseman back into action. Turner played in Minor League games before making his debut on March 14.
He hasn’t shown any effects of the knee surgery and easily been the Dodgers’ best hitter. Including Thursday’s Freeway Series opener, Turner has a 10-game hitting streak, collecting a hit in all games he’s appeared in this year.
For as hot of a bat as the third baseman is swinging, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he will remain mindful of providing Turner with rest during the regular season, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN:
“As a manager you want him out there every day, but I have already made it known to him that there will be built-in days off,” Roberts said. “What’s that saying: lose the battle but win the war?” Roberts said. “I understand that players get hot and they want to be in there. It’s really tempting, but you still have to take the long view and, for us, I think I am going to be very mindful of that all year.”
Turner is coming off a career year in 2015 despite dealing with the knee issue for most of the season. He appeared in a career-high 126 games, batting .294/.370/.491 with 16 home runs, 60 RBIs, and posting a .371 wOBA and 141 wRC+.
While the lingering knee injury may have been a bit worrisome, Turner said the issue he dealt with last year was a bone bruise that stemmed from fouling a ball off of his knee, and isn’t connected to his previous knee trouble.