Major League Baseball announced Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was given a one-game suspension Tuesday for making contact with home-plate umpire Rob Drake after the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to the San Diego Padres on Monday.
Turner wasn’t in the starting lineup Tuesday but he chose to appeal and will be eligible to play until the process is complete. He declined to comment.
The Dodgers had issues with Drake’s strike zone all night. The discontent culminated when Turner struck out looking to end the game on a pitch he believed was a ball. Turner voiced his displeasure and said Drake initiated the contact. Replays of the pitch showed it appeared to catch the low outside corner of the strike zone.
“I asked him, ‘You call that a strike?’” Turner said Monday after the game. “He told me it was right down the middle, which was pretty upsetting. If he thinks that’s down the middle .... no matter, he was missing a lot of pitches throughout the night.
“And then he walks into me and told me not to bump him, which also upsets me. I’m not trying to bump him or touch him in any way, but when you walk into me, and then cry foul like I hit you or something, [that’s] brutal.”
Manager Dave Roberts said he was “taken aback” by MLB’s suspension. He added the league should consider a player’s history when administering discipline. He insisted Turner did not warrant a ban and supported Turner’s claim that Drake created the contact.
“Rob felt differently, but the way I saw it, there was contact initiated by Rob as far as walking to the umpires’ room,” Roberts said. “So it wasn’t trying to be super aggressive on Justin’s part. It was an emotional part of the game as far as ending the game.”
Roberts said Tuesday was a planned off day for Turner, one of the few Dodgers producing at a high clip as the club has been held to three or fewer runs in eight of its last nine games. The 34-year-old third baseman is batting .325 with eight home runs and a 1.056 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 22 games in August. On Monday, he went three for five with his 24th home run and two RBIs.
“I think he’s played six in a row . . . and granted he’s swinging the bat well,” Roberts said. “But a formula we’ve been doing with a lot of our players is to manage workload and play the long game as far as having him ready for the postseason.”
Rich Hill logged a 31-pitch bullpen session, his second since going on the injured list with a forearm strain in June. Hill said he spun 10 to 12 curveballs after not throwing any in his first session. He said his fastball velocity sat at 88 to 90 mph, his usual range. He will throw off a mound again Friday or Saturday. . . . Julio Urias is scheduled to start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday in his first game since MLB gave him a 20-game suspension for his domestic battery arrest in May. Roberts said Urias, who faced hitters in Arizona on Monday, will throw two or three innings. He is eligible to return to the Dodgers on Monday. . . . Ross Stripling was scheduled to throw a live batting practice session at the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Arizona on Tuesday. It was to be the first time the right-hander faced hitters since going on the injured list with a neck injury last month. Stripling is expected to return to the Dodgers as a reliever after rosters expand Sept. 1. . . . The Dodgers activated catcher Russell Martin from the bereavement list and optioned catcher Austin Barnes to triple-A Oklahoma City. The Dodgers plan on recalling Barnes when rosters expand.