Justin Turner missed nine consecutive games because of a sprained left ankle, and was limited to a planned pinch-hit appearance in Friday’s series opener agains the Colorado Rockies. Turner was back in the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, though only logged two at-bats before being removed.
It wasn’t because of any sort of setback, but rather a strategy to ease him back into play. Although his night was over after just three innings — much like an early Spring Training game — Turner was encouraged by his return.
“Ankle felt good, it was good to be back out there. The plan was to get a couple at-bats, get out of there and kind of build on it. Everything felt good,” he said.
Turner had one ball hit to him and was involved in a cutoff play to home plate during his three innings. “I felt great,” he answered when asked if the ankle caused any limitations on defense.
That his absence spanned nearly two weeks came as a bit of a surprise. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts initially indicated the 34-year-old would be in the lineup for the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles.
That was true at first, though Turner was ultimately scratched. After an X-ray on the troublesome ankle was inconclusive, an MRI was conducted and at that point it confirmed Turner was dealing with a sprain.
“When it first happened I didn’t really think much of it. I thought I had a little soreness in my ankle,” Turner explained. “It wasn’t until the MRI showed what it actually was, that it really made sense to me.
“I couldn’t really figure out what happened, how it happened, why it was bothering me. Stuff takes time. It’s feeling good now, though, so that’s what’s important.”
Turner is expected to start again Sunday in what may be another abbreviated game. “To not push him is important,” Roberts noted. After concluding their final homestand of the regular season, the Dodgers will have Monday off before beginning a six-game road trip.
Their opponent is not yet known, but Game 1 of the National League Division Series will be played at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 3.
“Just get back out on the field and play,” Turner said of his focus for the final week of play before the postseason. “Everything felt good in the box, didn’t feel like I missed any time, felt like I saw the ball pretty good. Just continue to try to get better every day.”