Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner suffered a broken left wrist after being hit by a Kendall Graveman pitch in Monday night’s spring training contest against the Athletics. The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin was the first to tweet out the news on Monday night.
Shaikin writes that the 33-year-old Turner won’t know the timetable for his injury until he visits with a doctor on Tuesday, though even in a best-case scenario he figures to be out until May or early June. The injury is a massive loss for the Dodgers, who are competing for an incredible sixth straight NL West title this season after falling just short in last October’s World Series.
Turner, who was previously a career utility player before breaking out in a major way after revamping his swing in Los Angeles, has posted a .303/.378/.502 slash line over four seasons with the Dodgers. He hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 homers over 543 plate appearances in 2017, reaching the All-Star game for the first time in his nine-year major-league career. He posted an incredible .462/.533/.692 line over the Dodgers’ three-game NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks, then stayed lava-hot in the NLCS, hitting .333/.478/.667 with two homers over five games. He cooled off substantially in the World Series, but overall he was arguably the Dodgers’ most valuable offensive contributor during the postseason.
With Turner out, the Dodgers will move second baseman Logan Forsythe to third (as Shaikin tweeted Monday night). They’ll resist the temptation to move former middle infielder and current center fielder Chris Taylor to second base, instead opting to divide the playing time at second base among a group that includes grizzled veteran Chase Utley, super-utility player Kiké Hernandez, and catcher Austin Barnes, who has the flexibility to move back to his original position since the Dodgers possess one of the league’s best backup catchers in Yasmani Grandal and a quality third-stringer in Kyle Farmer. While all three of Utley, Hernandez, and Grandal have everyday starting experience and should be quality fill-ins, they’re certainly not at Turner’s level. The injury will undoubtedly present an obstacle as the Dodgers attempt to hold off Diamondbacks and Rockies clubs that made the postseason last year and a Giants club that significantly retooled over the offseason.