Turner has started only three games since Sept. 7, first because of a sprained left ankle, then with back soreness that sidelined him the final five games of the regular season. But he took a few swings against Tony Gonsolin in a simulated game on Tuesday, and Roberts said Turner will answer the bell when the National League Division Series opens against the Nationals on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
“The ankle’s healed up, and it was just the back,” said Roberts. “He took some swings on Friday in the cage, felt fine. Just felt to take a couple extra days and recalibrate today was the best course of action. Training staff supported it, and now, where he’s at, I feel very confident he’ll be able to perform at his level come Thursday.”
Roberts said final roster spots were dependent on Turner and the medical staff being confident he was healthy enough to be active.
Kelly, who has thrown six competitive pitches in the last two weeks, threw a 20-pitch bullpen session during Tuesday’s workout at Dodger Stadium, and Roberts said he will also be active on Thursday. Kelly has been nursing an unspecified injury.
“I saw it from afar,” said Roberts. “It was fastball, curveball, changeup. I got the thumbs-up from him. I didn’t have a conversation. I saw it out of the hand. It was good, the effort was there. He’ll be ready for Thursday, in whatever role.”
As for Hill, he was the only starting pitcher Roberts would name. Hill has been on a determined journey to make it back for the postseason despite injuries to his flexor tendon and left knee. Roberts declared it a victory, saying Hill would start Game 4 on the road. Roberts is confident that the 39-year-old could give him four innings after pitching three scoreless innings in his Sunday start against the Giants.
Roberts said Hill would also be available for a batter or two in Games 1 and 2. Hill likely bumps Gonsolin from the roster. That seemed even more likely when Gonsolin threw two innings of the simulated game.