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Giants-Dodgers gets heated -- even in spring

Turner hit by pitch on hand in 1st inning, homers in 3rd; X-rays negative
@kengurnick
March 4, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Johnny Cueto hit Justin Turner with a pitch, Clayton Kershaw plunked Rob Brantly, words were exchanged and warnings were issued. Even in Spring Training, the Dodgers and Giants can fire it up. X-rays on the back of Turner’s left hand were negative, so Wednesday night’s 4-0 Dodgers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Johnny Cueto hit Justin Turner with a pitch, Clayton Kershaw plunked Rob Brantly, words were exchanged and warnings were issued.

Even in Spring Training, the Dodgers and Giants can fire it up.

X-rays on the back of Turner’s left hand were negative, so Wednesday night’s 4-0 Dodgers win goes down as a rather benign chapter in the rivalry.

But momentarily, the first night game of this camp was a scary flashback to the first night game of the 2018 camp when Turner’s left wrist was broken by a Kendall Graveman fastball.

“I was talking about that before the game, joking about it, then come out here and get hit on the top of the hand,” Turner said. “I’m all right. Just a bruise. It’s not great, but I’ve had worse.”

In his next at-bat, Turner slugged a two-run homer off Cueto. With Turner’s health assured, attention turned to Kershaw, who appeared to professionally retaliate for the pitch that hit Turner in the bottom of the first inning by grazing Brantly with two outs in the top of the second.

As Kershaw was walking from the mound to the dugout after the third out, Giants third-base coach Ron Wotus passed by en route to his first-base dugout and said something that set off Kershaw.

Plate umpire Tom Woodring stepped in and walked Kershaw to the dugout, spoke with manager Dave Roberts and issued warnings to both benches.

“He was upset that I hit him and that’s fine, it’s part of the game and he’s allowed to be upset. I didn’t say anything,” said Kershaw, who said he was hoping Turner had avoided a repeat of two years ago.

“I understand J.T. stands close to the plate and you have to pitch him up and in, and you hate to see it, you hate to see it in Spring Training,” he said. “He missed six weeks last time. It’s just scary, and thankfully he’s all right.”

Cueto indicated that he intended no malice when he plunked Turner.

“I don’t understand why the umpire gave us warnings,” Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros.

Kershaw struck out four in three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks.

“There were things I did better in the first game, but I landed my curveballs for strikes better than the first game, which was good,” he said. “A little better command than the last game. Backed up some sliders that they hit hard to shortstop, but overall a good step.”

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