Dodgers’ Justin Turner not thinking beyond this year – the final year of his contract

first_imgGLENDALE, Ariz. — Justin Turner has been unemployed before. So he doesn’t seem too concerned about entering the final year of his contract with the Dodgers this season.“Is this my last year?” the Dodgers third baseman said when asked how much his contract status occupies his thoughts. “That’s my answer. No.“I’m not worried about that. I’m here to win a championship and whatever happens after that we’ll see.”Non-tendered by the New York Mets in December of 2013, Turner still didn’t have a team when he ran into fellow Titan Tim Wallach (then a Dodgers coach on Don Mattingly’s staff) at the Cal State Fullerton alumni game later that winter. Just days before opening camp, the Dodgers signed Turner to a minor-league contract with a non-roster invite to spring training. It turned out to be possibly the best $1 million investment the franchise has made. KANGAROO COURTMookie Betts (outfielders) and Turner (infielders) have established a ‘kangaroo court’ fine system for mistakes made during drills or in games this spring. Each player is keeping a tally on a sheet of paper at his locker and collecting money from violators.“It’s great,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s just that incentive to pay attention to detail – whether it’s hit a cutoff man, catch a grounder, get the signs. So now we have a kitty that’s a small kitty that is going to continue to grow throughout the season. I just liked that accountability part of it.“When one of your star players speaks out, it’s a lot easier for those guys to kind of follow along and have fun with it but also understanding the message behind it.”MAY STATUSRight-hander Dustin May threw a bullpen session on the first day of camp, felt tightness in his left side the next day and has yet to get back on a mound.May had re-started a throwing program and stretched out to playing catch from 120 feet but “didn’t feel great so we’re going to take a step back,” Roberts said.CLOSING TIMEDodgers closer Kenley Jansen made his second appearance of the spring Wednesday and struck out the side in order. He has faced six hitters in Cactus League action, striking out five. Jansen’s fastball has touched 94 mph. According to Roberts, Jansen was sitting at 85 to 87 mph at this time a year ago.“Eighty-seven to 89,” Jansen corrected. “Eighty-five? I don’t know about that. I love you Doc but I don’t know about that.”The early results in Cactus League games seem to be reinforcing the positive feelings Jansen had after working on his mechanics during the offseason.“It’s good to have results,” Jansen said. “But sometimes you’re gonna have bad results and you have to know – ‘are you throwing the ball well?’ To me, it’s more right now a consistency thing. Can I repeat that pitch over and over and over? That’s what spring training is for. So I want to make sure that I can repeat that pitch over and over and over again.”ALSOWalker Buehler will make his first start of the Cactus League schedule on Saturday against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields. The Dodgers play split-squad games that day. Ross Stripling will start for the team against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch. … Outfielder Joc Pederson still has not been cleared to swing a bat and Roberts admitted the hip injury has proven to be more troublesome than it appeared at first. Not only did Turner become one of the best third basemen in the National League (an All-Star in 2017) but he emerged as a team leader, a cohesive force in the clubhouse. In addition, he has embraced community service, establishing the Justin Turner Foundation with his wife, Kourtney, to work with veterans causes, hosting an annual golf tournament, serving as a Race Ambassador for the L.A. Marathon.Last January, the Los Angeles City Council honored him for his efforts by designating a Justin Turner Day.That’s a lot at stake when Turner’s four-year, $64 million contract runs out at the end of this season.“Obviously it’s reality. It’s a possibility,” the 35-year-old Turner acknowledged. “But this is something I try not to focus on or think about. I have to worry about what’s in front of me today and we’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.”In six seasons with the Dodgers, Turner has hit .302 with 112 home runs and an .887 OPS. In parts of five seasons with the Orioles and Mets before joining the Dodgers, Turner was a .260 hitter as a part-time player with eight home runs and a .684 OPS.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

0 thoughts on “Dodgers’ Justin Turner not thinking beyond this year – the final year of his contract”

Leave a Reply

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