The Los Angeles Dodgers coaching staff has been depleted this offseason, highlighted by the departures of former third base and infield coach Chris Woodward as well as hitting coach Turner Ward.
Woodward, often lauded for his leadership skills during his three-year stint with the club, was named the 27th manager in Texas Rangers franchise history. His moving on from the Dodgers has reverberated through the clubhouse.
“For me, he was one of the coaches I was closest with in terms of being an infield coach,” Justin Turner said.
“We knew last year when he took the interview with the Yankees that it was just a matter of time. And obviously, everything he brought to the table with us, especially defensively and leadership and conversations that we’ve had. But I wish him all the best and think he’ll be an unbelievable manager. The Texas Rangers are a pretty fortunate organization to have him running the show.”
As Turner points out, Woodward was a finalist for the New York Yankees’ managerial opening last offseason before Aaron Boone eventually won the job. He credited the Dodgers for helping him prepare for his next venture as Rangers manager.
Turner also touched base on his relationship with Ward, who left his position as Dodgers hitting coach to accept the same role with the Cincinnati Reds as an effort to move closer to his family. “Turner Ward, obviously we were very close over the years,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in the cages with him, a lot of long conversations. Going to miss him as well.
“But I think its an eye-opener and a realization, not only for players but teammates that it’s a business and a job and things change fast. So he got a good opportunity to I guess better his situation and he took it and you can’t blame him for that because that’s something that we all try to do every day.”
While the Dodgers have yet to find replacements for both Ward and Woodward, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman revealed last week that the club will soon conduct a search for their next hitting coach and third base coach.