The Los Angeles Dodgers snapped their four-game losing streak on Thursday but it was not without a scare. Justin Turner was hit by a pitch on his right thumb in the first inning and immediately hunched over in pain.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and head athletic trainer Nate Lucero checked on the All-Star third baseman, who remained in the game. During his time at first base, Turner was seen flexing his right hand.
Upon making his way toward the dugout between innings, he tested the strength in the hand by throwing a baseball. Turner took the field in the bottom of the first but was removed after that point.
He was sent for X-rays that came back negative, and diagnosed with a thumb contusion. While Turner was removed early, he took solace in being able to throw the ball, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“Any time you get hit in the hand, it’s a little scary,” Turner said. “The fact I stayed in and threw the ball in the bottom of the inning was a good sign. I went in for X-rays anyways, and they came back negative. I think I would have been fine throwing, but don’t know if I took another at-bat. If I were to get jammed, it probably would have made it even worse. Dave and I agreed to be cautious with it.”
The Dodgers already went through a stretch without Turner’s bat in their lineup when he missed nearly one month after being placed on the disabled list May 19 due to a hamstring strain. His presence is all the more vital with just over one week left in the regular season.
While Los Angeles is on the verge of clinching a fifth consecutive National League West title, home-field advantage through the World Series is hanging in the balance. The Dodgers’ recent skid prompted Turner to declare them the worst team in baseball at that time.
Turner is batting .321/.414/.534 with 31 doubles, 21 home runs and 70 RBI this season. He trails Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon (.331) and Washington Nationals All-Star Bryce Harper (.326) for the NL batting title.