By Mason Kern
The Los Angeles Dodgers lost their offensive leader from last season to injury in this past Monday night’s spring training game in which the team achieved a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics. Justin Turner, third baseman for last season’s World Series runner-ups, reportedly sustained a non-displaced fracture in his left wrist upon being hit by a pitch rocketed by right-hander Kendall Graveman.
It has been announced by Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts that Turner will not require surgery for the injury. However, Roberts did not give a timeline for Turner’s absence or expected return to the diamond.
With opening day just nine days away, Turner’s absence will surely be felt throughout the dugout. As for how the team might adapt, expect Logan Forsythe to slide into the third base slot, as well as Chase Utley and Kike Hernandez splitting second base duty.
Turner was last season’s NLCS co-MVP, an honor he shared with Chris Taylor. They were the third set of co-MVPs in LCS history, joining Rob Dibble and Randy Myers for the 1990 Reds, and Jon Lester and Javier Baez for the 2016 Cubs.
The 33-year-old Turner batted .322 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI’s in 130 games played last year. He went six for 18 (.333) with two home runs and seven RBI’s in the five-game NLCS series, and he logged more walks (five) than strikeouts (four). Most notably, Turner clubbed a walk-off home run in Game 2. That was only the second postseason walk-off in Dodgers’ history.
Currently, the Dodgers are looking to improve upon their extraordinary season last year in which they maintained a record of 104-58. Some have suggested that the 2017 Dodgers may actually have been the best baseball team ever. Now, without Turner for the first few weeks of the season, other players will have to step up, step in or otherwise pick up the pace if they want to scratch the surface of that mark again this season.
Mason Kern, Host of “The Sports Watchdog” Radio Show on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 Phoenix, spotlights newsworthy current events and happenings in the world of pro, college and youth sports as well as gadgets and gear suited for sports and fitness enthusiasts. Mason frequently appears as a sportscasting guest on various TV and other radio programs, including Good Morning Arizona, KUSI-TV San Diego, “The Sports Hangover” Show on NBC Sports Radio Phoenix and more. View his TV segment clips online at www.tinyurl.com/TTWVideos. Reach Mason on Twitter @ASportsWatchdog, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SportsWatchdog and on LinkedIn at www.tinyurl.com/TT