Aside from the unfortunate injury to righty swing man Tom Koehler and the ongoing roster battle in left field, there haven’t been an overwhelming number of developments to report regarding the Dodgers’ 2018 spring camp.
That is, until the troubling news about Justin Turner‘s left wrist developed on Monday evening.
The Los Angeles third baseman was struck by a pitch from right-hander Kendall Graveman in the first inning of a Cactus League contest against Oakland Monday night. Turner was in obvious pain, as he winced when he jogged away from the plate toward the dugout. He was quickly visited by a team trainer and replaced by Donovan Solano. X-rays ultimately revealed a small fracture.
“I was hoping obviously the X-rays would be negative, but there’s a small non-displaced fracture,” Turner said. “We’ll just play it by ear, see how it goes.”
Until his wrist begins to heal, there’s no accurate timetable for a prospective return date. However, a stint on the disabled list is inevitable for the 33-year-old veteran infielder.
General manager Farhan Zaidi spoke to reporters after the game, and although he was saddened by the upsetting prognosis, he insisted that the team is in good hands with its organizational infield depth.
“It’s disappointing news obviously but we do feel good about our internal options. We do have guys who can move around and play multiple positions including third,” Zaidi explained. “We have some very capable guys who are have their chance to seize this opportunity and get more playing time than they would have otherwise.”
The early thoughts by the management team suggest that Logan Forsythe will handle the lion’s share of reps at the hot corner, at least until JT is fully recovered.
“Logan is our best defender at third base now,” skipper Dave Roberts stated later in the evening. “We see him as a second baseman with the ability to play third. That opens that conversation up.”
With Forsythe shifting to third, opportunities open up at the keystone for players like Enrique Hernandez, Chase Utley, Austin Barnes, or even guys like Tim Locastro and Jake Peter. Besides Forsythe, the Dodgers have plenty of other options at the hot corner, including Kyle Farmer, who is almost assured a 25-man roster spot with the injury to Turner. Zaidi insists that Chris Taylor will remain in center field, although the coaching staff still likes his ability to provide cover at shortstop.
With Opening Day quickly approaching, my best guess is that we’ll see a heavy dose of Hernandez and Utley at the keystone until the management crew can gauge the best fit for the club’s offensive and defensive stature.
In the meantime, Zaidi implied that Cody Bellinger will likely move up to the three-hole in the lineup, which opens the door for players like Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal or Matt Kemp to slide into the cleanup spot.
“We’re not as good a team without JT,” Zaidi added. “There’s no doubt about that.”