Dodgers News: Why Dave Roberts Asked Justin Turner To Pitch
Justin Turner
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have rotated pitchers on their active roster over recent days and have nine relievers in their bullpen but still needed Justin Turner to pitch in the ninth inning of Sunday’s loss to the Colorado Rockies.

The pitching appearance marked a first for Turner in his career, and he joined Andy Burns as position players to take the mound for the Dodgers this season. Adding more curiosity to the situation was Kenley Jansen pitched in the eighth inning.

Jansen and Turner both inherited a 5-0 deficit, which held as the final score.

“We had some guys we wanted to stay away from,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained. “When you’re down 5-0 and you’ve got three hits through eight innings, to use a leverage guy in the ninth, I didn’t feel good about that.

“Talked to Justin, he was on board with saving the ‘pen. I’ve gone on and on about Justin. To save our ‘pen, a leverage guy, be a team leader and take it for the team, that was that piece.

“As far as Kenley, I just felt to stay away from Blake (Treinen) to potentially give us one-plus [Monday], Kenley was on board with doing that. It wasn’t any kind of role reversal. It was more of how are we going to get through this game the best way we can?”

In addition to Blake Treinen, the Dodgers also avoided using Phil Bickford, Corey Knebel and Alex Vesia.

“The way we leaned on Alex Vesia, to get him in this game and have him down the next day or two against the Braves, in a game that in my opinion was unlikely we were going to win given how we performed the last couple days, it saved a leverage arm,” Roberts added.

“I would do it again if the situation presented itself.”

Why did Turner pitch?

Using Turner to pitch helped preserve the Dodgers’ bullpen but also raised the question of using a key everyday player in an unusual role.

“I’d love to know another option,” Roberts responded when asked about deciding on Turner. “I think there’s things that get thrown out there all the time, but if there’s a better solution or option that you have, I’d like to hear it. Given where we were at in the game.”

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and more!