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Turner says pad prevented another wrist injury

@kengurnick
March 31, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Would Justin Turner be on the injured list today if he wasn’t wearing an EvoShield protective pad when a Matt Andriese pitch struck him Friday night directly on the spot of last year’s left wrist fracture? “Hundred percent,” said Turner, who missed the first six weeks of

LOS ANGELES -- Would Justin Turner be on the injured list today if he wasn’t wearing an EvoShield protective pad when a Matt Andriese pitch struck him Friday night directly on the spot of last year’s left wrist fracture?

“Hundred percent,” said Turner, who missed the first six weeks of the 2018 season, coinciding with the Dodgers’ slow start.

Since returning, Turner has worn the EvoShield pad, which is a fusion of fiberglass resin that begins as a gel and, when exposed to oxygen, hardens to a customized protective shell that diffuses the energy from impact. Even though Andriese's pitch was a changeup, it was clocked at 86.6 mph and it struck Turner with enough force to fracture a bone.

“Right on the spot,” said Turner. “I’ll probably never play without [the shield] again.”

Turner acknowledges that inside pitches are a particular occupational hazard for him because he crowds the plate. He averaged being hit by pitches 13.5 times a season over the last four seasons and his career total of 74 is 17th among active players. Of the 74, 11 have been by Arizona pitchers.

In Dodgers games against the D-backs, though, you don’t have to be Turner to be hit by a pitch. Three (Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock) were hit in the sixth inning alone on Saturday night and Turner was hit Friday night. No Dodgers batter was hit on Opening Day, when Los Angeles' lineup slugged eight homers.

Last year, Dodgers batters were struck by 61 pitches, 11 of them by Arizona pitchers in 19 games. Turner was hit once by D-backs pitchers last year, four times in 2017, three times in '16 and twice in '15.

Why?

“They hit us a lot every year,” said Turner. “I don’t know if it’s trying to pitch in and [they] don’t have the ability to command the ball. I know why I get hit, because I stand so close to the plate. But most of our guys are off the plate."

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