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Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner remains sidelined with back ailment

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner missed his fourth game in a row Saturday because of a back ailment.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner missed his fourth game in a row Saturday.
(Rob Tringali / MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Justin Turner was absent from the Dodgers’ lineup Saturday against the San Francisco Giants and he won’t play again until the postseason as he continues to deal with a back ailment.

Turner hasn’t played since Tuesday. Wednesday was a scheduled day off for him, but back discomfort surfaced during batting practice and kept him from playing. Saturday was the fourth consecutive game the third baseman missed.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Turner played catch and took swings in the batting cage Friday. He was scheduled to replicate the routine Saturday. Roberts said he would have liked Turner to play in Sunday’s regular-season final. Instead, Turner will go eight days without playing in a game before Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday.

“He really understands his mechanics, and I think for him, when he feels good, he performs,” Roberts said. “Tuesday, we’re going to have a workout, and we’ll do some simulated games and let pitchers throw to hitters. He’ll be a part of that. So to take at-bats, he can do that. So, no, it’s not imperative that he plays [Sunday].”

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Turner, 34, has appeared in just nine games in September. A left ankle sprain kept him off the field for nearly two weeks before he returned to play in four games. The Dodgers have used different people in his place at third base. The list includes Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Matt Beaty, and Jedd Gyorko. Beaty got the start Saturday after taking groundballs pregame.

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Beaty is expected to make the postseason roster. He, Taylor, and, potentially, Hernandez can fill in should Turner not be ready Thursday. But Roberts said he remained optimistic that Turner will be in there.

“If he wasn’t able to move around and swing the bat, then it’s probably a little bit more of a concern,” Roberts said. “But since he’s doing that, I feel confident that he’ll be fine.”

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Roberts thinks Bochy isn’t done

Sunday will mark the final game for Bruce Bochy as manager of the San Francisco Giants, concluding a 13-year run in the Bay with three World Series championships. Bochy has been showered with adulation, gifts and acknowledgments since announcing he would retire after the season.

On Sunday, he’ll be honored with a postgame ceremony after the 4,032nd game of a 25-year managerial career. But Roberts isn’t convinced Bochy’s time in the dugout is over for good.

“There’s more in there. He’s got more years of managing,” Roberts said. “I think he’s going to manage again. I do.”

Dustin May put in two perfect performances out of the bullpen against the Padres, but there’s still a chance he won’t make the Dodgers’ postseason roster.

Roberts played three seasons — the final three of his playing career — under Bochy with the San Diego Padres and the Giants. The two foes remain friends. Roberts said he’s watched his former boss grow in the job and stay current.

“I just think that the way that he has evolved, as far as how the game has evolved, he’s done that,” Roberts said. “He’s a Hall of Fame manager. But to see things from one way and do it so well for so long and now be introduced to a different way of doing things with a lot of younger players that are very exciting to watch and coach, I think that intrigues him.”

Short hops

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A.J. Pollock, as expected, was not in Saturday’s lineup after getting hit by a pitch Friday. Roberts said he expects Pollock to start Sunday. … Roberts said Joe Kelly, who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 18, remained scheduled to appear in Sunday’s game. Roberts has said Kelly is dealing with an “overall body situation.”


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