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Turner loves Dodgers squad ahead of spring

Third baseman hosts annual charity golf tournament in Thousand Oaks
MLB.com @kengurnick

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- It's late January, supposedly the dead of winter. But on Monday at the Sherwood Country Club in Ventura County, Santa Ana winds pushed temperatures into the 80s and cleared the skies by tee time for the third annual Justin Turner Foundation Charity Golf Tournament.

If celebrity turnout indicates peer respect for the host, consider the guest list, starting with Lake Sherwood residents Wayne Gretzky, widely acknowledged as the best hockey player ever, and son-in-law Dustin Johnson, the current No. 1-ranked golfer in the world.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- It's late January, supposedly the dead of winter. But on Monday at the Sherwood Country Club in Ventura County, Santa Ana winds pushed temperatures into the 80s and cleared the skies by tee time for the third annual Justin Turner Foundation Charity Golf Tournament.

If celebrity turnout indicates peer respect for the host, consider the guest list, starting with Lake Sherwood residents Wayne Gretzky, widely acknowledged as the best hockey player ever, and son-in-law Dustin Johnson, the current No. 1-ranked golfer in the world.

Turner was also joined by teammates Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Austin Barnes, Walker Buehler and Trayce Thompson, almost-teammate Chase Utley, former teammate Adrian Gonzalez, former NBA star James Worthy, former tennis star Mardy Fish and Dodgers announcers Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciaparra, John Hartung and Jerry Hairston Jr.

While golf was the sport of the day, Spring Training is right around the corner. Turner said he can't wait for the start of Spring Training in two weeks, encouraging fans not to panic over a relatively quiet offseason.

"I love our team," said the All-Star third baseman. "As much as you want to see those sexy splashes in the offseason, we understand what we have in the clubhouse. [With] the guys we have, we like where we're at."

Turner also hopes that the bitter ending to last year's World Series Game 7 doesn't obscure the achievements during the other 176 games.

"We fell one game short," Turner said. "From the fans' perspective, you see the [free-agent] names out there and you want the Dodgers to spend, but we've got to remember the season we had last year. It was pretty special. I think what we did can be forgotten because the way it ended. It sounds dumb because we had a great season, but we were the sad team walking off the field, not the happy team."

Video: Justin Turner is the No. 4 third baseman right now

Turner, one of the Dodgers' foremost clubhouse leaders, echoed Kenley Jansen's endorsement of Matt Kemp's return. Kemp was acquired from Atlanta in the salary swap of Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir. If he isn't traded, Kemp could compete for the starting job in left field.

"I love Matt and he reached out to be a few weeks ago and he worked out with us at the stadium," said Turner. "I told him, 'Matt, you're a Dodger. You're one of the guys that built this place, so come on up.' He's in great shape, running well and he's serious. He wants to win and help us. Nobody knows what's going to happen, but as of now, he's one of our outfielders and still a big impact, right-handed bat."

As for the Foundation run by Turner and wife Kourtney, it supports homeless veterans and the families of children affected by life-altering illness. The golf tournament raises money and awareness for their causes.

"Growing up in L.A., we have more veteran homelessness than in many cities and you see it on a daily basis," Turner said. "Any freeway offramp you see veterans on the street, just trying to get by. This is a no-brainer for me to be involved in. As far as the kids, it's something I've always wanted to do, with the platform we have as athletes. It's amazing what you can do for a family just by walking in the room. You don't have to bring anything or say anything. To be a bright spot and give them something good to think about, when they're going through so much, is a blessing."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. Listen to his podcast.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Justin Turner