Sidelined Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner says, ‘It stinks ... not being out there’
Beat writer Andy McCullough and columnist Dylan Hernandez talk about the Dodgers’ rough start and why they aren’t concerned.
Justin Turner was the Answer Man on Tuesday, greeting reporters approaching his locker with a stream of responses to questions about his fractured left wrist before they could query the Dodgers third baseman.
“I wouldn’t say it’s healed — there’s still a little tenderness in there,” said Turner, who was hit by a Kendall Graveman pitch in a spring-training game against the Oakland Athletics on March 19. “No, I haven’t touched a bat yet. No, I don’t know when I’m going to. It’s just a matter of whenever the pain goes away.”
Keep going, Turner was told.
“Is it hard to [not be playing]? Yes, it stinks,” Turner said. “Whether we were 9-0 or 0-9, it stinks all the same, not being out there.”
Turner, who hit .322 with a .945 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 21 homers and 71 runs batted in last season, said in March that doctors told him he should be able to swing a bat in about three weeks. Tuesday marked three weeks since the injury.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Turner should ramp up his rehabilitation over the next week to 10 days and could begin swinging a bat by April 20.
“At that point in time, J.T. will start to be more active,” Roberts said. “Once he’s ready, he’ll be sent out, hopefully for a short rehab assignment.”
Turner said there has been one benefit to his injury.
“I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life right now,” he said. “I have an extended spring training going with everything except swinging the bat. I’m playing catch, running, lifting, fielding ground balls with my right hand.”
Turner pulled a first baseman’s mitt out of his locker and showed how he catches a ball with the glove on his right hand, flips the ball in the air while taking the glove off and catches it with his right hand to throw.
“I field it, flip it, toss it,” Turner said. “Just like Jim Abbott.”
Weekend rotation set
Roberts said that Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw would start against the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. Because of an off day last Thursday and a rainout in San Francisco last Friday, the Friday night start will be Maeda’s first since March 31.
With off days Monday and Thursday, Roberts could have kept Kershaw on regular rest by starting him Friday night. Instead, both Kershaw and Hill will go a week between starts.
“It’s an awkward situation for all the starters,” Roberts said. “This is probably the only time [Kershaw] will have the extra couple of days, which he doesn’t like, nor does any starting pitcher. It was a way we could sort of manage those three guys. Hopefully we’ll get these guys back on a normal schedule going forward.”
On the mend
Reliever Tom Koehler, recovering from a shoulder strain, rejoined the Dodgers after spending a week in Arizona. The right-hander, projected as the primary setup man for Kenley Jansen, hopes to begin a throwing program soon, but no timetable has been set.
“The strength is there, the range of motion is great, but they want to make sure when I’m back, I’m back for good, and not just for a couple of weeks,” Koehler said. “It feels good today, but we want to make sure it’s good for the long haul.”
Who’s on first?
Last week, when was asked if he could envision outfielder Joc Pederson starting at first base in the near future, Roberts said, “No.” After Pederson spent a week doing drills at the position, Roberts upgraded his assessment.
“He’s getting better,” Roberts said. “So the chance of him getting into a major league game has increased exponentially since spring training. My hat’s off to Joc.”
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