Since the calendar turned to May, Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner has been among the hottest hitters in all of baseball, clubbing five of his six home runs on the season. Though, he’d also been a magnet and hit by a pitch in four straight games.
Turner avoided injury with those but the Dodgers received a scare in Friday’s series opener against the Cincinnati Reds as Turner fouled a ball off his left shin, causing him to be removed from the game.
X-rays came back negative, but he was out of the lineup on Saturday to allow for healing after it swelled up to the size of a ‘baseball.’ Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Turner was available to pinch-hit, and he did wind up getting an at-bat, grounding out to end the game.
Turner was back in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale which is obviously a positive sign. Roberts noted his third baseman remains susceptible to possibly being hit because of his batting stance but downplayed any concern over his bruised shin, via Jeff Wallner of MLB.com:
“Justin stands on the plate and that’s part of the risk,” Roberts said. “Self-induced is worse than all those other hits by pitch. We’re going to manage it. He takes such good care of himself I’m not worried about it. He’s as tough as they come.”
To expand on Turner’s toughness, Roberts revealed on Sunday morning the reason he was in the lineup was at his insistance:
“We thought about giving him an extra day with the off day coming tomorrow, but Justin was adamant and training staff was good with him playing. Swelling is down. We’ll keep an eye on him but we’re confident.”
Turner did not show any signs of an injured shin, making a nice play on a slow grounder hit to third and hitting a line drive to bring in a run.
With days off on both Monday and Thursday of this upcoming week, that should give Turner plenty of rest to get back to being 100 percent healthy. Breaks in the schedule were a key reason why he was able to avoid a stint on the injured list.
Also, with the Dodgers beginning a two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, the Dodgers will have the luxury of using Turner as a designated hitter if they want to get him off his feet