Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner will play in the NLDS against the Nationals
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts declined to divulge the starting rotation for the upcoming National League Division Series, but he confirmed Justin Turner will play in Game 1 on Thursday.
Turner’s status was iffy before the Dodgers took the field for a workout Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. It was a test for the third baseman, sidelined for the Dodgers’ final five regular-season games with back discomfort. The Dodgers were ready to adjust their roster if he was limited.
The contingency plan was nixed after Turner fielded groundballs and took at-bats in a simulated game.
“I feel very confident that he’ll be able to perform at his level come Thursday,” Roberts said.
Turner, 34, hurt his back taking batting practice last Wednesday after having recently returned from a 13-day absence with an ankle injury. He took swings over the weekend, but the Dodgers decided to keep him out of games, leaving Turner with 11 plate appearances since Sept. 7.
Roberts was less transparent about his rotation. He said the club has decided how Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Hyun-Jin Ryu will line up in Games 1, 2, and 3 but declined to share the information. Patrick Corbin will start Game 1 for Washington.
First baseman David Freese is valued so highly for his leadership as well as his hitting that the Dodgers convinced him not to retire after last season.
“I think that divulging that now, [there’s] just not a whole lot of upside,” Roberts said. “We’ll kind of just keep it under wraps.”
The manager did, however, confirm that Rich Hill will start Game 4, if necessary. Roberts said he is “comfortable” with Hill throwing four innings. The left-hander could also come out of the bullpen in Games 1 and 2.
Roberts acknowledged rookie second baseman Gavin Lux and rookie utility man Matt Beaty will be on the roster. So will reliever Joe Kelly. The right-hander threw a 20-pitch bullpen Tuesday after appearing in a game Sunday for the first time since Sept. 18. His mysterious “overall body situation” will not keep him off the roster. He will be one of the eight pitchers in the Dodgers’ bullpen.
“I saw it come out of the hand,” Roberts said. “It was good. The effort was there so he’ll be ready to go on Thursday — in whatever capacity, whatever role.”
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