The Los Angeles Dodgers thought better health had arrived with Corey Seager and Mookie Betts recently coming off the injured list, but they have encountered more trouble of late and on Sunday that amounted to Justin Turner being removed in the bottom of the second inning because of left groin discomfort.
Albert Pujols pinch-hit for Turner and remained in the game at first base, which moved Max Muncy over to third base. Sunday was the first time Pujols was not in the lineup against a left-handed starter since signing with the Dodgers.
He immediately contributed with a mammoth two-run home run that extended the Dodgers’ lead to 5-0.
Turner’s removal took some convincing on the part of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. After Turner made a play to his right in the top of the second inning, Roberts and a Dodgers trainer asked if all was well.
Turner indicated he was fine but cameras caught him limping in the dugout and also going into the clubhouse before a lengthy conversation with Roberts.
If Turner is to miss any time, the Dodgers may look to Chris Taylor as the temporary replacement. Trea Turner’s arrival did push Taylor to the outfield, but Roberts had already indicated he would potentially see some time at third base as well.
Justin Turner has been among the few Dodgers regulars to avoid a stint on the injured list this season. The team is off Monday before beginning a stretch of 10 consecutive games, and 22 in 23 days.
Turner key for Graterol
Beyond his importance on the field and in the lineup, Turner has been a key leader in the clubhouse. One of the latest examples was in noticing an adjustment Brusdar Graterol could make with slowing down his delivery.
“He’s just been so quick to the plate, and Justin is such a student of the game, he noticed how quick Brusdar is,” Roberts revealed. “Just feeling that if he can slow down, it might make it even harder on hitters.
“It’s kind of counterintuitive, but with a slower delivery it gives him a better chance to get hitters out. Then you take the pitching guys to use that information and dig in on the delivery, so it’s been kind of a tag team.”
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