Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner takes swings off tee — for real this time
This time, there’s proof.
When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts mistakenly accelerated the recovery of third baseman Justin Turner last week, Turner vowed to tell reporters as soon as he was medically cleared to take swings off a tee as he returns from a fractured wrist. Turner made good on his promise Friday morning, tweeting a video of himself swinging at Camelback Ranch. In the tweet he tagged several reporters who cover the team — and country music star Brad Paisley.
Turner is expected to meet the team Monday in Arizona. The next step in his progression would be taking live batting practice. Roberts suggested Turner could start a rehab assignment as early as next weekend.
“If we can get him out some time next week, that would be great,” Roberts said before Friday’s series opener against the Giants.
Turner has not played this season after getting drilled by a fastball from Oakland pitcher Kendall Graveman on March 19. His absence has had a sizable effect on the Dodgers’ sluggish start. His initial replacement at third base, Logan Forsythe, is also on the disabled list with an injured shoulder. As a group, the Dodgers who have played third base this season had posted a .523 on-base-plus-slugging percentage — the worst in the majors, heading into Friday’s games.
Turner could fill that void before June arrives.
“The progression should be quicker, now that he’s swinging,” Roberts said. “Hopefully he feels good tomorrow.”
Seager gets day off to start trip
After tweaking his hip late in Wednesday’s loss to Miami, shortstop Corey Seager was held out of the lineup for Friday’s series opener. Seager admitted he still felt tightness in the area, but said he could play. The Dodgers urged caution as they began a 10-day, 11-game trip.
“I honestly don’t know which muscle it is, it’s just a little tight in the front,” Seager said. “Nothing to worry about.”
Seager turned 24 on Friday.
Buehler to start Saturday
Walker Buehler, who is technically a member of the class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, played catch in the outfield at AT&T Park on Friday afternoon. Buehler was optioned to the minors this week, but the Dodgers never intended to let Buehler stray far. He will be activated as the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader and pitch the day game.
Buehler, the team’s top pitching prospect, threw five scoreless innings in his first big league start Monday. He issued three walks, and expected more of himself in his second start.
“It was good that without my best stuff I was able to put up some zeroes,” Buehler said. “You take some confidence from it. Obviously, I’d like to be better than that.”
The Dodgers optioned right-handed relief pitcher Yimi Garcia to triple-A Oklahoma City. Garcia was already pitching with Oklahoma City on a rehab assignment. Garcia, who missed the entirety of 2017 after undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction, posted a 4.15 ERA in his five appearances on the assignment.
Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter @McCulloughTimes
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