Turner on target for Opening Day

Infielder reports no setbacks after October microfracture surgery

February 1st, 2016

PASADENA, Calif. -- Dodgers infielder Justin Turner hosted a charity golf tournament on Monday, but didn't play in it.

Turner is still recovering from October left knee microfracture surgery. He and the team insist he's right on schedule in his recovery, with the expectation he'll be 100 percent ready to go by Opening Day.

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He's been batting for two weeks and began running last week, with no swelling or discomfort. Although management's reversal of strategy with the imminent re-signing of infielder Howie Kendrick (freeing Chase Utley for third base) fueled speculation that Turner is still a physical question mark, the player sounds otherwise.

In fact, Turner said he's confident the surgery will resolve the arthritic limitations that forced him to take two days off each week the last two seasons.

"My game plan is not just to be ready Opening Day, but to be 100 percent in baseball shape for Opening Day," said Turner. "I'm hoping it's fixed, that when I get to 100 percent it's in the rear-view mirror and I won't have to worry about it. I hope it feels like a brand-new knee once I get to 100 percent. My goal is to be available and ready to play every single day."

Turner said that so far there have been no setbacks from the surgery, in which tiny holes are drilled in the knee and the resulting "scabbing" serves as a replacement for cartilage that has deteriorated.

"There was no pain or discomfort when I ran, but the thing I'm most happy about was that I woke up next day and the knee felt really good," he said.

Turner has turned into one of former general manager Ned Colletti's best acquisitions, although when he signed two years ago Turner didn't even get a Major League contract after being non-tendered by the New York Mets.

The Dodgers were just hoping he'd make the club as a versatile utility player, but he became starting third baseman and a clutch hitter in the middle of the batting order. He has a new $5 million contract and is a rarity, a local product who has exceeded expectations while playing at home.

Monday's tournament, which benefits the Dream Center, is proof. In the wake of the club's highly publicized community tour and FanFest, Turner drew a full field for his inaugural fundraiser. The Dream Center provides support in the areas of homelessness, hunger, poverty, addiction, education, and human trafficking. Turner was connected to the Dream Center by his girlfriend and "my better half," Kourtney, after she joined other Dodgers wives and girlfriends in an event.

Among the teammates who supported Turner on Monday were Yasmani Grandal, Kiké Hernandez, Austin Barnes, Adam Liberatore and Joc Pederson. Because Hernandez is also recovering from surgery (right shoulder), according to Turner the two of them planned to "hijack" a golf cart and tool around the Brookside County Club course, which is adjacent to the Rose Bowl.