Dodgers News: Justin Turner ‘Felt Great’ In 2016 Spring Training Debut
Jon SooHoo-Los Angeles Dodgers

Coming off a season in which he was hobbled by a bothersome left knee as a result of a foul ball, Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner underwent microfracture surgery during the offseason. Initially, the procedure was only to include cleaning up loose bodies.

Although microfracture surgery is a more serious operation, Turner said the area where he needed the operation afforded him some luck as it was a non-weight bearing region in his knee. He progressed along the rehab trail without issue, but the Dodgers have been cautious since the start camp.

It was determined Turner would miss the first week of Cactus League play, which began March 3 for the Dodgers. He wound up missing 10 days, but returned to the lineup on Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Although the date of Turner’s 2016 Spring Training debut had been penciled in for a couple of days, it originally called for him to start as a designated hitter.

However, the 31 year old successfully got through Minor League games on the back fields at Camelback Ranch, and instead started at third base. After playing 3 1/2 innings on Monday, Turner said all went well, via Ken Gurnick of

“Everything is a test to see how I feel on both sides of the ball. I had a little extra adrenaline with the fans in the stands. I was anxious to get back out there in a real game. Playing on the back fields is good to get the work in, but it’s not the same adrenaline and intensity with the fans in the stands. I felt great. Ran, slid into home, dove for a ball. Everything felt fine.”

The Dodgers starting third baseman finished 1-for-1 with one double, one RBI, a walk and two runs scored. His RBI double gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead only three batters into the game.

Turner played in career-high 126 games last season, batting .294/.370/.491 with 16 home runs, 60 RBIs, a .371 wOBA, 141 wRC+ while posting a 3.9 WAR.

He carried that success into the postseason when he was the Dodgers’ best hitter, going 10-for-19 (.526 batting average) with six doubles and four RBIs in five National League Division Series games.

Turner’s 10 hits in the series were the most ever for a Dodgers player in a Division Series, and the most by a Dodger in any postseason series since Steve Garvey’s 10 hits in the 1981 World Series. Moreover, Turner’s six doubles set a Dodgers record for most in any postseason series.

Turner, the Dodgers’ undisputed starting third baseman, is on track to be fully recovered from last October’s knee surgery by Opening Day. He avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.1 million salary. Turner will be eligible for free agency following the 2016 season.