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Dodgers' Justin Turner shows his staying power

Dodgers' Justin Turner shows his staying power
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner runs to first on a single during a game against the Cincinatti Reds on August 13. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

Jon Lester showed bunt, so third baseman Justin Turner came charging. When the ball was popped up off the third-base line, Turner broke into a sprint, dived and snatched it out of the air.

Back at third base, he beamed a smile at shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Not bad for his fifth game in a row.

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For the first time all season, the Dodgers played Turner in the field for a fifth straight day.

Manager Don Mattingly had been reluctant to use Turner for so many consecutive games, fearing that his knees would wear down over the course of the season. But as the Dodgers near the final month of the regular season, Mattingly said Turner will become more of an everyday player.

"It's nice, if you get at-bats every day it keeps you in the flow of things," Turner said. "Sometimes days off can be counterproductive for how you're feeling at the plate. So keep playing every day and getting at-bats and making adjustments and get back to feeling really good at the plate."

At times, Turner's own assessment of his health clashed with the Dodgers' concern. He maintained that he felt fine, that his knees were not a problem.

"Everything feels great," he said again on Saturday. "Usually [Mattingly] just kind of gives me the days, and I don't have a whole lot to say about it."

This time, Mattingly consulted with Turner before penciling him in for his 101st game this season. His high in any season is 117, in 2011, a mark he is expected to surpass this year.

"There's nothing wrong with Justin," Mattingly said. "It is preventive."

When Turner does sit, Mattingly may soon use Chase Utley in his place. Before Saturday's game, Utley again did fielding work at third base with bench coach Tim Wallach.

Mattingly said Utley is still a few sessions away from being able to play third base in a game.

When Utley is ready, Mattingly said, he plans to use him as a spot starter, spelling Turner as he increases his workload and easing second baseman Howie Kendrick back from the disabled list.

"We'll try to be creative in getting him in the lineup," Mattingly said.

Go-go Dodgers?

The Dodgers' running game has had a mini-resurgence in their series against the Chicago Cubs. On Friday, Utley manufactured a run when he advanced to third on a pitch in the dirt and then scored when the throw to third was wide.

On Saturday, Jose Peraza, the speedy prospect called up when Yasiel Puig went to the disabled list, singled, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, stole third and then scored on an infield single for the Dodgers' first run.

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Scott Van Slyke and Carl Crawford also stole bases, making this just the sixth time all season the Dodgers had multiple stolen bases in a game.

Twitter: @zhelfand

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