The worst fears of Dodgers staffers, the worries that pulsed through their minds when Justin Turner pulled up lame around third base on Thursday night, were not realized. But Turner will miss at least 10 days, possibly more, after an MRI showed a strain of his right hamstring.
The Dodgers placed Turner on the disabled list and recalled outfielder Brett Eibner from triple-A Oklahoma City before Friday’s game against Miami.
Enrique Hernandez replaced Turner at third base. On a rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, Logan Forsythe was slotted into third base. The team plans to activate Forsythe on Tuesday, and use him as Turner’s primary replacement.
Turner declined to speculate on the length of his layoff. He returned from a similar injury in 2014 after 15 days. Back then, though, he was a reserve, and the Dodgers did not rely on him for nine innings of work on a daily basis.
“We’re just going to play it by ear, and see how it goes from day to day,” Turner said. “And try to make sure we get it to 100% before we try to do anything else.”
Turner felt a “a little grab in my hamstring, almost like a cramp” when he tried to score from second base in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game. Manager Dave Roberts worried that Turner tore the muscle off the bone. Turner woke up on Friday in more pain than he expected. The examination alleviated his long-term concerns.
The Dodgers have learned to adapt after losing players to injury. Andre Ethier hasn’t played all season. Forsythe hasn’t played since April. Andrew Toles won’t play again this season. Adrian Gonzalez just returned from the disabled list.
In Turner, the Dodgers will be missing their most reliable hitter. Turner went to the disabled list leading the National League with a .379 batting average. He has a .946 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, despite hitting only one home run. His skills at third base have also gained some acclaim.
“To miss, at any extent is tough, let alone for two weeks,” Roberts said. “But we’ll get over it.”
Turner offered a reminder: The Dodgers played without Clayton Kershaw for six weeks in 2016 and still surged to a division title.
“We absorbed the best pitcher on the planet missing two months,” Turner said. “I’m sure we’ll be fine.”