Justin Turner’s return within days will bring more change to infield

Justin Turner

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner hits a triple during the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs on June 25, 2015.

(Paul Beaty / AP)

They arrived back at Dodger Stadium, wounded but going the positive route, uncertain how long Howie Kendrick would be out but resigned that he’d be gone for some time.

With Kendrick placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left hamstring, the Dodgers called up Jose Peraza from triple A and immediately inserted him into the lineup at second base. Enrique Hernandez was in there too, but starting in center and batting fifth.

Where it goes from there, best stay tuned.

It’s a work in progress, but Manager Don Mattingly said Hernandez likely would get plenty of playing time at second, though he would continue to be used as an infielder and outfielder. Both Peraza and Hernandez are right-handed hitters.


But the Dodgers offered a bit of good news with third baseman Justin Turner.

Mattingly said he expected Turner, on the disabled list because of a leg infection, to return within the next few days. Turner has been working out at the team’s training complex in Phoenix. He is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday, but will be out at least another day.

“He’s close,” Mattingly said. “He’s been taking BP [batting practice] and running indoors. We think he should be ready in a few days.”

Turner’s return will further complicate the infield situation. Alberto Callaspo has been splitting playing time at third with Alex Guerrero while Turner’s been out. If the Dodgers keep Peraza -- he also adds an element of speed they’re missing -- they may have to make a tough call between Callaspo and Guerrero when Turner returns.


Guerrero is under contract for two more years at $15 million, but the Dodgers have not been able to find a defensive position they’re comfortable he can play. And it isn’t like the new front office has been shy about cutting loose players inherited from the previous regime. Callaspo is in the last year of his contract.

For now, with left-hander Gio Gonzalez starting for the Nationals on Monday night, Mattingly sat Joc Pederson and played both Hernandez and Peraza.

Peraza was originally a shortstop, and he’s played some outfield, but Mattingly said he’s hesitant to move the 21-year-old around.

“We’re going to try and keep him as comfortable as possible,” he said, “and put him in the best position for success. He hasn’t played much shortstop the last couple of years.”

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