Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open again put a spotlight on the mental health discussion, which Justin Turner touched on and related to the Los Angeles Dodgers during a recent “Holding Kourt Podcast” episode.
The topic of conversation was first broached by Kourtney Turner and licensed marriage and family therapist Ilana Grines during last week’s episode, as the two discussed the importance of positive mental health in general terms.
With Turner back on as co-host, he detailed what’s been useful for him — again highlighting the revered former Cal State Fullerton sports psychologist Ken Ravizza, who passed away in 2018. Turner also shared how he attempts to give teammates an opportunity to discuss what may be troubling them if they are in need of an outlet to discuss it.
That led to the Dodgers third baseman recalling a message former teammate A.J. Ellis would share, which Turner relayed to Clayton Kershaw after he pitched just one inning against the Chicago Cubs this season. Then when Turner achieved an unwanted career-first, Kershaw relayed Ellis’ words back to him:
“One of my favorite lines, and I learned it from A.J. Ellis, and actually told it to Kershaw a couple weeks ago when he only pitched one inning. Obviously Kershaw is a Hall of Famer and he’s one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever been around, and A.J. Ellis is one of his best friends, so I actually used one of A.J.’s lines to Kersh. Because he told me, ‘That’s never happened to me before ever in my life.’ And I said, ‘Hey, if you play this game long enough, if you’re fortunate enough, good enough to play long enough, something like that is going to happen.’
“Like, you’re going to only go one inning and not make it out of the first inning. You’ve been so good and played so long, you created that opportunity for this bad moment to happen. And the funny thing was a few weeks later he had the opportunity to say it to me because I struck out four times in a game for the first time in my career. It was kind of like a chuckle between the two of us and, ‘If you play this game long enough, that’s going to happen.’”
Kershaw completing one inning was the shortest start of his career, which previously had been
1.1 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010. The left-hander quickly put it behind him and turned in a strong performance four days later.
Similarly, Turner rebounded from his golden sombrero on May 11 by hitting safely in the next three games and only having multiple strikeouts in two contests since that point.
Turner expected regression
Although Turner got off to a hot start this season, his feel at the plate amounted to an expectation hits eventually stop falling. Turner did endure a slump but remained focused on his daily work — part of the mental approach — and emerged from that with a better feeling and again producing.
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