Thursday, April 28, 2016

Is Justin Turner Playing Hurt?

Turner during better days in
Spring Training
(Photo courtesy Cindy Murphy)
With the first month of the season nearly behind us, I think we need consider that something might be wrong with Dodger third baseman, Justin Turner. In the early-going, we could go with "he's just slumping" out of the gates; but now, 22 games in, you begin to realize you can't keep making excuses for him. Something is not right with J.T.

To date, Turner's slash line is way down (Now: .250/.333/.338 vs Last Season: 294/.370/.491). In 68 ABs he has not yet hit a home run, and he only has 5 RBIs. He's also already made 2 errors at third base in only 20 games; last year, he made 9 total miscues there in 100 games. 

Can J.T. regain his sweet stroke?
(Photo courtesy N.Y. Daily News)
So what's up with J.T.? The Dodgers aren't publicly saying anything about Turner's health, but you can see he doesn't look like himself at the plate or on the field. The off-season micro-fracture surgery on his knee appeared to be a success, as he had a very productive spring training (.500 average, 3 homers, 6 doubles, 9 RBIs in only 30 ABs). Turner has been one of the best clutch hitters on the team, if not the league, over the past two seasons. But time after time in 2016, he is failing to drive in runs. Most of his hits are coming with nobody on base. This is just not Justin.

Maybe I'm totally reading into things and the guy is in the middle of a typical baseball rut, but I don't think so. He looks like he's trying to hide pain. The numbers don't usually lie, and neither do the looks on his face many times when he is hitting, running or fielding.

Is it time to hit the barbershop for
some new mojo?
(photo courtesy Fox Sports)
If Turner ends up making a trip to the D.L. at some point it will be a pretty big blow to the team, but not one that they couldn't overcome for a stretch. The Dodgers have depth with the explosive Kik√© Hernandez, the up-and-coming Charlie Culberson, and flexible vets like Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick, both of whom can play third base. Let's hope I'm wrong, and the old J.T. breaks out soon. 

Maybe he just needs to change things up to regain his mojo? If his shaggy ginger locks and beard suddenly get 86'd, that would actually be a good sign that his knee is fine.

No comments:

Post a Comment