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.”
5 thoughts on “Dodgers 25-Man Roster: The Inevitable Third Base Conversation”
Considering that JT stands almost directly on top of the plate, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before. I would opt for Forsythe to third and Kike to fill most of the time at second, at least to start the season. If either of them reverts to only hitting lefties, changes would have to be considered. Would also definitely keep Farmer because he can also play third. If Barnes starts hitting at some point, he would also be a viable option to fill some time at second. I would not consider Peter, Locastro or Solano for roster positions at this point.
How was your trip to Glendale, man?
Sent you a rundown to the TBPC email address yesterday. Didn’t you get it?
I was surprised by Farhan’s comment, I thought Taylor would cover second, and they would keep an extra OFer. Well that’s good for Farmer he has been having a good spring.
I’ve been saying for quite a while that I don’t expect Puig back once his contract and remaining option year are up after 2019 but Mike Petriello had a fascinating post on his progress/potential on the mlb.com website. After reading that, I’m beginning to think I might have been wrong and that he might make enough further progress this year that they would consider extending him. Definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a Puig fan.