Dodgers’ Justin Turner aiming for a healthier 2015

by ,

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers manager Don Mattingly recently reiterated that he would play Turner sparingly in order to keep him on the field. But Turner wants to be a more durable player in 2015. That’s why he’s OK with getting his butt kicked five days a week.“I think the key to anything is obviously being on the field and staying healthy,” Turner said. “That was my emphasis this offseason, was to focus on that. Get stronger, get leaner, do some running stuff and prevent any breakdowns.”When healthy, Turner was excellent in his first season with the Dodgers. Among all major-league players who had at least 70 plate appearances with runners in scoring position in 2014, Turner posted the highest batting average (.419). He also had 12 hits and 10 RBIs as a pinch hitter, both team highs.The Dodgers couldn’t have asked for more out of their fifth infielder and apparently they won’t. Turner said that Alex Tamin, the Dodgers’ director of baseball operations, recently told him they will slot him into the same role in 2015.Significantly for Turner, in December the Dodgers replaced a relatively fragile shortstop (Hanley Ramirez) with a relatively durable one (Jimmy Rollins). They also acquired a durable second baseman, Howie Kendrick, to replace Dee Gordon. Rollins has averaged 148 games in his career since he became a starter early in his career; Kendrick has averaged 145. LONG BEACH — Dodgers infielder Justin Turner was ladling soup and making sandwiches here Wednesday, not far from where he was born at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. A lunchtime crowd of about 180 packed into the Long Beach Rescue Mission cafeteria. Almost everyone else, including Turner, was wearing a blue apron.It was tough to notice under the apron, but Turner’s jersey hung a little looser on his compact 6-foot frame. He said he’s lost 15 pounds from his October weight of 218.“Brandon McDaniel, our strength guy, actually moved here from Omaha to work out every day with me and Adrian (Gonzalez),” Turner said. “It’s been cool. … Brandon’s been kicking my butt.”If there was one knock on Turner’s 2014 season, it was the 19 days he spent on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain — the third straight season he’s gone to the DL with a significant injury, despite playing only a part-time role each year.center_img So Turner’s best chance to play more could come at third base. Starter Juan Uribe turns 36 in March and only played 103 games last season amid a string of hamstring injuries.“I haven’t talked to Donnie. I don’t know how he’s going to approach it, but I think they’d like to keep Uribe healthy throughout the year,” Turner said. “They might have built-in days off for him but I haven’t talked to Donnie or Wallie (bench coach Tim Wallach).”Turner avoided arbitration by re-signing a one-year contract for $2.5 million, a noticeable raise from the $1 million he made in 2014. Naturally, the expectations will be higher. The temptation exists to compare whatever he does in 2015 to 2014, but so far Turner is resisting.“Last season is over and it doesn’t count for anything,” he said. “I’ve got to start from scratch, stay humble, keep working hard, and try to find ways to be more consistent. Especially in the role I’m in, it’s tough being consistent because you never know when you’re going to play or how many at-bats you’re going to get. “Last year is in the past. It’s done. You’ve got to keep moving forward.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *