Manager Dave Roberts said he doesn’t believe Justin Turner will need to go on the 10-day injured list after fouling a ball off his left shin in the Dodgers’ victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
Turner wasn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup Saturday, but the third baseman pinch hit in the ninth inning. Turner likely won’t start Sunday, giving him three days to recuperate with Monday’s off day. Los Angeles opens a two-game series against Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.
“To give him two, three days potentially to get ready for Tuesday, it’s certainly a thought,” Roberts said. “But I think I’m going to let the training staff and Justin decide that.”
Turner fouled a pitch off the shin, just above his ankle guard, in the third inning Friday. He completed the at-bat and played the field the next two innings before exiting in the fifth with a bruise. X-rays were negative, but the shin, Turner said, swelled up “huge.” Roberts said the swelling had subsided by Saturday.
Friday’s unfortunate ricochet was just the latest ball Turner’s body has absorbed this week. Turner was plunked in four straight games before Friday, becoming the first Dodger to be hit by a pitch in four consecutive games since Hughie Jennings in 1900. Jennings, it should be noted, holds the major league record with 287 hit-by-pitches in his career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945.
“Justin stands on the plate and that’s part of the risk when you’re on the plate,” Roberts said. “I think this ball off the shin yesterday, self-induced, is worse than all those other four hit-by-pitches. We’re going to manage it, but he takes such good care of himself. I’m not worried about it.”
The Dodgers’ ample off days — they’re not scheduled to play Monday and Thursday — and five-man bench give the club cushion to practice caution with Turner while not hurting them on the field. The team called up outfielder Kyle Garlick and infielder Matt Beaty from the minors and placed starter Kenta Maeda on the injured list Friday to afford themselves an extra position player.
Beaty is a left-handed hitter so he got the start at first base Saturday against Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle with Max Muncy at third. He went one for four.
Beaty would also start Sunday opposite right-hander Tanner Roark if Turner doesn’t start. The 26-year-old Beaty is in the majors for the second time this season. He entered Saturday two for four with the Dodgers. He was batting .299 with an .847 on-base-plus-slugging percentage with triple-A Oklahoma City.
Puig continues to struggle
Yasiel Puig singled twice in the Reds’ win Saturday, but the former Dodger’s career in Cincinnati is off to a dreadful start. The right fielder has hit seven home runs this season, but has just four other extra-base hits and is batting .210 with a .621 OPS.
Matt Kemp, the other outfielder the Reds acquired from Los Angeles in December, was released earlier this month. Alex Wood has yet to pitch this season as he deals with a back injury. The most productive player the Dodgers sent to Cincinnati has been utiltyman Kyle Farmer, who entered Saturday batting .232 with five home runs and an .814 OPS while playing multiple positions.