Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Justin Turner (Page 4 of 9)

Justin Turner warming up as Mets come to town

San Diego Padres vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Mets at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Trayce Thompson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Charlie Culberson, SS
Scott Kazmir, P

By Jon Weisman

When Justin Turner hit his first homer of 2016 on Saturday, it capped his best four-game stretch of the season.

Turner went 6 for 16 with two doubles, two walks and the homer, raising his OPS from .631 to .714. Though Turner went 0 for 3 with a walk Sunday, Dave Roberts didn’t think the uptick in numbers was a fluke.

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Nine surprising Opening Day starters for the Dodgers

Luis Cruz greets Justin Sellers during Opening Day introductions in 2013. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Luis Cruz greets Justin Sellers during 2013 Opening Day introductions. (Photos by Jon SooHoo)

Vicente Padilla allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings on Opening Day 2010. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Vicente Padilla allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings on Opening Day 2010.

By Jon Weisman

Every spring, there’s tons of edge-of-your-laptop anticipation over who will start for the Dodgers on Opening Day, even if it won’t mean much by the end of that year, month, week or game.

Going back 30 years, here are nine of the most eccentric picks for the Dodgers’ season-opening lineups. Do you remember them all? They’re each peculiar yet lovable in their own way …

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In case you missed it: Dodgers option Liberatore, hone in on bullpen

Adam Liberatore has struck out 11 in nine Cactus League innings this year.

Adam Liberatore has struck out 11 in nine Cactus League innings this year.

Dodgers at Padres, 1:10 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Chase Utley, 2B
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Ross Stripling, P

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers are down to two left-handers in their Major League bullpen after optioning Adam Liberatore to the minors following the team’s 5-4 victory Monday over Texas.

The question now is, will they go down to one?

Since we last checked in on the bullpen, it has been whittled in predictable fashion, leaving the following:

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No, not everyone got hurt: 2016 Spring Training stars

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

By Jon Weisman

One week from Opening Day, it’s safe to say that injuries have dampened Spring Training for the Dodgers this year, like picking the wrong line at Philippe’s 30 minutes before game time. If there’s an upside, it’s that aside from the injuries, there’s been a feast for the baseball senses. Nearly everyone on the field is meeting or exceeding expectations. Here are some of the brightest (and, knock on wood) healthiest lights at Camelback Ranch this month:

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In case you missed it: Ex-Dodger moves forward from tragedy

[mlbvideo id=”565381383″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Reds at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Trayce Thompson, CF
Chase Utley, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
Rob Segedin, 1B
Austin Barnes, 2B
Charlie Culberson, SS
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

I hope you don’t have to read a tougher story than this today: Former Dodger reliever Javy Guerra spoke to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News about the twin horrors of losing his brother and sister in the past two years.

Here’s what’s happening around the Dodgers …

  • Zach Lee held serve in his challenge with Carlos Frias to start in the first week of the 2016 season. In the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory Saturday over the White Sox, Lee (pitching 4 2/3 innings) got two more outs than Frias, but allowed two more runs. Oddly, Lee had no walks or strikeouts.
  • Wrote Ken Gurnick of MLB.com: “Some will speculate that because Frias faced the Giants recently, Lee will get that first start, rather than have Frias face the same hitters again. San Francisco’s lineup Friday night included Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford.”
  • Under the radar, Kiké Hernandez (hit by a pitch near his oblique Sunday), Alex Guerrero (knee) and Yimi Garcia (knee) have gone days without playing as they try to let various sore spots heal.
  • However, Gurnick indicates that Corey Seager is nearing a return to Major League action after playing defense in a minor-league game Saturday.
  • Scott Kazmir’s abdominal issues weren’t abominable – it turns out, they were cramps.
  • Prospect watchers got a thrill when 20-year-old Cody Bellinger and 21-year-old Willie Calhoun hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning off MLB veteran Dan Jennings. Each player reached base twice in the game.
  • Justin Turner walked, doubled and singled in his three plate appearances, and now has a Cactus League on-base percentage in the .700 club.
  • Play-by-play announcer Joe Davis is not only spending his first season with the Dodgers in 2016, he and his wife Libby are having their first baby this summer. Congrats!
  • It was Dodger Pride night Saturday at Staples Center with the Kings.

In case you missed it: Maeda rolls after getting a bit rocked

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

It’s hard not to like what Kenta Maeda has brought to the U.S. so far.

Same with Justin Turner, even if the journey isn’t quite so far.

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Justin Turner has slick return to game action

Los Angeles Dodgers head shot dayBy Jon Weisman

Justin Turner’s 2016 Cactus League debut could hardly have gone better.

In the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory over Milwaukee today, Turner — playing his first Spring Training game following offseason surgery on his left knee — doubled in a run and scored in the first inning and made a clean defensive play at third base in the second inning. In the third, Turner walked, then scored all the way from first base on an Adrian Gonzalez double, sliding smoothly at home plate.

“I’m still standing,” said Turner, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “Everything is a test to see how I feel on both sides of the ball. I had a little extra adrenaline with the fans in the stands. I was anxious to get back out there in a real game. Playing on the back fields is good to get the work in, but it’s not the same adrenaline and intensity with the fans in the stands. I felt great. Ran, slid into home, dove for a ball. Everything felt fine.”

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has more. Assuming Turner has no ill after-affects Tuesday, he should return to game action Wednesday.

Justin Turner makes Cactus League debut today

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

Brewers at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Micah Johnson, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Austin Barnes, C
Alex Guerrero, DH
Trayce Thompson, CF
Charlie Culberson, SS
Rico Noel, LF
(Mike Bolsinger, P)

By Jon Weisman

The Iced Man cometh.

In the Dodgers’ 13th Cactus League game of 2016, Justin Turner will make his first appearance.

Turner, who has been recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, is scheduled to play approximately five innings at third base.

The 31-year-old Turner made it back into the lineup exactly three weeks before Opening Day at San Diego.

Alex Guerrero, who pinch-hit Sunday in his first game in eight days, gets his first start in that span at designated hitter.

Today’s game is preceded by a “B” game, slated to go no more than five innings, in which Scott Kazmir of the Dodgers is pitchinh against Chris Sale of the White Sox. Yasmani Grandal, who has been sidelined with a forearm contusion, is catching Kazmir.

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Are Dodgers dodging the leadoff inquisition?

Just seeing if you're paying attention. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Just seeing if you’re paying attention. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dodgers at A’s, 12:05 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Andre Ethier, DH
A.J. Ellis, C
Trayce Thompson, CF
Charlie Culberson, 3B
Rico Noel, RF
(Kenta Maeda, P)

By Jon Weisman

Earlier this week, MLB.com, the Times, the Register, True Blue L.A. and ESPN.com all wrote about how the Dodgers don’t expect to have a full-time leadoff hitter in 2016.

“It’s still wide-open,” Dave Roberts said, according to Bill Plunkett of the Register. “It might change but I don’t foresee a designated leadoff guy – versus left, versus right, versus any type of pitcher – because any day is different, any pitcher is different. So whatever I feel is the best, which makes the most sense for that night or day, we’ll do.”

For some reason, this seems to get under the skin of some fans, who correlate a consistent presence atop the order with winning. And to be sure, if you’ve got guy who posts a .400 on-base percentage against all pitching and doesn’t have redwoods for legs, that’s a good head start toward victory.

But you’re not doomed if you don’t have that person, and it doesn’t serve anyone to pretend that you do. Whatever advantage might be derived from stubbornly batting the same player in the same batting slot, regardless of who the opposing pitcher is, is surely bettered by creating the best matchups.

Let’s look at the Dodgers’ potential leadoff hitters, casting a wide net …

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Kenta Maeda set for Dodger debut

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 12:05 p.m.
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Corey Seager, SS
Shawn Zarraga, DH
Elian Herrera, 3B
Corey Brown, CF
(Kenta Maeda, P)
Update: Alex Guerrero, originally listed at DH, was a late scratch with left knee soreness.

By Jon Weisman

A sizable media contingent, soon to be followed by a sellout Camelback Ranch crowd, greets Kenta Maeda today for his first start in a Dodger uniform.

“We’re all excited to get him out there,” Dave Roberts said this morning. “He’s excited to get out there. And it’s just more of getting an up-and-down — two innings — controlling those emotions, and just the fastball command. He’s gonna mix in some breaking balls, but I think for the most part it’s that fastball command.”

With Adrian Gonzalez making his first exhibition start today, Roberts also gave an update on Justin Turner, the only likely Opening Day position player who has yet to see Cactus League action.

“He’s doing everything right now as a baseball player, and I think the first thing we’re gonna do is get him in a game as a designated hitter,” Roberts said. “There’s no date yet — as I said early, he wasn’t going to be playing the first week. … But he’s gonna have time to get at-bats, whether on this side or the (minor-league) side, and he’s taking all the grounders, doing everything he needs to do.”

In case you missed it: Justin Turner won’t start first Cactus games

Happy #LeapDay everyone! #LA @dodgers ⚾️

A post shared by Justin Turner (@redturn2) on

By Jon Weisman

Justin Turner is looking forward to leaping into 2016, but he’ll be leaping cautiously at first.

As a precaution and not unexpectedly, Turner won’t play in the first week of Cactus League games, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes.

Dave Roberts told reporters today that Turner, who is recovering from November microfracture knee surgery, remains on schedule for Opening Day, and that he can get at-bats in minor-league camp in the interim.

Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley will get some starts at third base in the meantime, Roberts said.

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In case you missed it: Putting the sock back in Joc


By Jon Weisman

The full Dodger squad, minus newly signed Yaisel Sierra, fell into place on what appeared to be a beautiful day a Camelback Ranch. Here’s the latest news and notes …

  • There’s few Spring Training pieces more timely than a systematic look at what went wrong for Joc Pederson in the second half of 2015. Bill Plunkett of the Register talked to Pederson and several people within the Dodger organization for his story.
  • Chase Utley’s hard edge as a competitor doesn’t leave much room for friendships with rivals, but when he’s on your side, there are few better, according to this profile by Andy McCullough of the Times. “I went from being scared to death of him,” A.J. Ellis said, “to loving being his teammate.”

Greg Maddux helping me play sports. Via @jon.soohoo

A post shared by Brett Anderson (@brettanderson46) on

  • New special assistant to president of baseball operations Greg Maddux is spending all of Spring Training at Camelback, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Before taking that position, Maddux received an inquiry from his former Braves colleague, Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten, about whether he might want to be part of the Dodger managerial search last fall.
  • Eric Gagne is also at Camelback as a guest instrutor, notes Gurnick.
  • The Dodgers said it earlier this winter, after the trade with the Reds and White Sox that did not bring Todd Frazier to Los Angeles, but today it was reiterated by Dave Roberts that the team plans for Justin Turner to remain at third base and Corey Seager at shortstop in 2016, rather than moving around the diamond. Kiké Hernandez is currently the backup shortstop.
  • Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has a humorous recap of Brandon McCarthy’s throwing session today.
  • MLB is hosting an its annual Honorary Bat Girl Contest, “which will recognize one fan from each MLB club who has been affected by breast cancer and has demonstrated a commitment to battling the disease.” Dodger pitcher Scott Kazmir will be one of the guest judges. Entries are being taken through April 14. Click for more details.
  • How does the Dodger video production team set up shop at Camelback? Very quickly, and with lots of hashtags …

In case you missed it: Pitchers and catchers and avocados, oh my

Los Angeles Dodgers reporting day for pitchers and catchers

For more photos from today, visit the Dodgers Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Hey! It’s that day!

With today’s “pitchers and catchers reporting” day arriving, it’s time to bring back our regular roundup of relevant news on the Dodgers and baseball. Here’s what’s percolating on the Camelback campus …

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu, pictured above with Kenta Maeda, had a 35-pitch bullpen session Thursday. He is expected to pitch in the Cactus League but is not being rushed to be ready for the opening of the regular season, wrote Andy McCullough of the Times in his roundup.
  • Maeda, who met with a gaggle of reporters this morning, has thrown two bullpen sessions already and all is normal, according to Bill Plunkett of the Register.
  • Yasmani Grandal is under no limitations now that his left shoulder has healed from surgery, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • Andre Ethier’s jersey is being retired by Arizona State tonight. Ethier and his wife Maggie were both already inducted into the Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
  • Frankie Montas’ stress fracture in rib “was less severe than thoracic outlet syndrome,” notes Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA. Montas broached it with Dodger trainers last month after it persisted, Rizzo said.
  • On a brighter side, Rizzo added that Justin Turner has “hit every checkpoint” in his recovery from microfracture surgery.
  • Trayce Thompson watched his brother Klay at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, then went to Arizona on Monday, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN(Update: Padilla has more on Grandal here.)
  • Fellow White Sox emigré Micah Johnson needed a few stitches after cutting his hand while slicing an avocado, and will need a few days to heal, reported Plunkett. For his part, Johnson tweeted that he had “the last laugh.”
  • Andrew Friedman has taken to calling Dave Roberts “Doc,” according to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. For you trivia buffs, the new Doc Roberts was born almost exactly 75 years after “Fiddlin'” Doc Roberts.
  • The Uribear, Juan Uribe, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Indians.
  • Tony Phillips, who seemed perpetually underrated to me, has passed away all too soon at age 56, as chronicled by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • And one more item from Thursday: Brandon McCarthy took Clayton Kershaw to task for misunderstanding the fundamentals of offseason training. But it’s possible there’s been a misunderstanding …

Passing on Todd Frazier, Dodgers show commitment to Justin Turner

NLDS GAME FOUR-LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS NEW YORK METS

By Jon Weisman

From the Dodgers’ perspective, today’s three-team trade with the Reds and White Sox was about picking up three 24-and-under players who have already had a taste of the Major Leagues.

But in an unmistakable way, it was also about a player who wasn’t part of the trade at all — Justin Turner.

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Jansen, Turner, Grandal, Van Slyke, Hatcher, Avilan officially retained for 2016

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.29.31 PM

By Jon Weisman

Six key arbitration-eligible players from the 2015 Dodgers — Luis Avilan, Yasmani Grandal, Chris Hatcher, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke — have all been tendered contracts for the 2016 season.

None were a surprise, but the Dodgers had to make it official by 9 p.m. tonight or let them become free agents.

Any one of the sextet could still go to salary arbitration, but the Dodgers haven’t been to an arbitration hearing since Joe Beimel in 2007 and haven’t lost since Terry Adams in 2001.

Previously this week, the Dodgers signed A.J. Ellis and Joe Wieland for 2016.

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