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Turner returns; May should be back soon

@kengurnick
September 15, 2020

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday the hope is to activate third baseman Justin Turner on Tuesday and have right-hander Dustin May start on Wednesday. Step one happened when the Dodgers activated Turner from the injured list on Tuesday. Turner, out since Sept. 1 with a strained left hamstring, will

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday the hope is to activate third baseman Justin Turner on Tuesday and have right-hander Dustin May start on Wednesday. Step one happened when the Dodgers activated Turner from the injured list on Tuesday.

Turner, out since Sept. 1 with a strained left hamstring, will return first as a designated hitter, Roberts said. Max Muncy and Edwin Ríos will initially continue to share third base as the Dodgers are determined to keep Turner healthy for the postseason.

May is in line to get the start six days after avoiding serious injury when a Josh Rojas line drive struck his left foot leading off a game in Arizona. May threw a light bullpen session on Sunday and passed fielding tests to get the green light. If May does make the Wednesday start and eats some innings, the Dodgers can avoid a bullpen game three days after the Sunday bullpen game against Houston.

• 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger entered Monday hitting .218. 2019 All-Star Muncy is hitting .195. Joc Pederson is hitting .184.

But all three were in the lineup Monday night, and Roberts said he won’t need to see specific statistics to know they are ready for the postseason, which begins Sept. 29.

“I don’t think it’s a numbers thing for me, it’s more of an eye test, the last 13 games,” said Roberts. “I don’t need numbers to see if they’re controlling the strike zone, if they’re using the whole field, if they’re ending the at-bat at the appropriate time that they can get a pitch they can handle. That’s more what I’m looking for going into the postseason."

Last year, Bellinger hit .305, Muncy .251 and Pederson .249. Combined, the trio slugged 118 home runs. They have combined for 26 this year, which projects to 89 over 162 games.

If body language is any indication, all three are feeling it. Roberts had a talk with Muncy about it on Sunday.

“Max is grinding,” Roberts said. “The frustration part is he hasn’t had his mechanics and swing consistent for any period of time this year. I just wanted to reiterate how confident I am in him to take good at-bats and to not chase numbers. I do see in the next three, four days to get [him] a day off to watch a baseball game. I have all the confidence it will show itself in the postseason the way it’s supposed to.”

• Gavin Lux, continuing his trial at second base, dismissed observations that he’s having another spell of the yips. He worked his way out of erratic throwing last year.

“Completely fine. I have no issues at all,” Lux said. “It’s baseball. You’re not going to make a perfect throw every time, so to jump to a conclusion, I don’t think that’s the case at all, to be honest with you.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.