Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Giving back a way of life for Turner and wife

Golf tournament caps busy offseason of charity efforts
MLB.com @kengurnick

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Before posing for selfies with donors and sponsors, embracing Albert Pujols, Robin Ventura, former teammate Chase Utley, current teammate Austin Barnes and broadcaster Orel Hershiser when they arrived at Sherwood Country Club, and before teeing off at his fourth annual charity golf classic, Justin Turner and wife Kourtney were stuffing Adidas backpacks with all kinds of swag for their supporters.

"We feel blessed and we want to give back to people that might need a little loving and are going through tough times," said Turner.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Before posing for selfies with donors and sponsors, embracing Albert Pujols, Robin Ventura, former teammate Chase Utley, current teammate Austin Barnes and broadcaster Orel Hershiser when they arrived at Sherwood Country Club, and before teeing off at his fourth annual charity golf classic, Justin Turner and wife Kourtney were stuffing Adidas backpacks with all kinds of swag for their supporters.

"We feel blessed and we want to give back to people that might need a little loving and are going through tough times," said Turner.

The Turners cram about as much fundraising and community outreach into an offseason as is humanly possible, which included repeated appearances during last week's Dodgers Love L.A. tour. Athletes have been especially high profile at local events in the wake of the Borderline shooting and California wildfires, but the Los Angeles city council last week declared "Justin Turner Day" because he's been out there doing the heavy lifting every offseason since he signed in 2014.

"We work with veterans and we work with kids in hospitals, we visit them and try to give them positive experiences when they are going through a tough time," said Turner. "We sent kids to Disneyland that had to spend Christmas Day in the hospital, and that's not supposed to happen. It's because of this event that we have the means to do that."

Video: Justin Turner Day in Los Angeles

What can a tireless celebrity couple bring to a charity?

"We've been able to open up a men's home for homeless veterans after the first tournament, and last year, because of the response of last year's tournament, we opened a women's veterans homeless shelter," said Clint Carlton of the Dream Center, which partners with Turner's foundation.

"We've also worked with the three major hospitals in Los Angeles, sending kids to Disneyland with their families. Justin and Kourtney are in it together."

Kourtney Turner said the couple are grateful they can help.

"Justin's been given such a great platform and has the ability to reach so many people that when you have something you care about, you can use that platform for good," said Kourtney. "It's a no-brainer for us."

Video: Turner on California Strong celebrity softball game

Monday's event pretty much caps Turner's hectic offseason, with Spring Training opening next month. Turner has been outspoken about the slow pace of free-agent signings this winter in general, but he said he's still confident that Dodgers management has effectively restocked the roster.

"I trust Andrew [Friedman] and our front office and what they do every year," he said. "It's not just about the 25-man roster, but it's the 40-man roster, to have the flexibility and depth to cover for anything that happens. There's no one better in the game than Andrew to build a roster that can win a division every single year.

"Every guy on the roster thinks they're in a spot to help the team win, and if you ask them if we need to get Bryce Harper, I would hope they say, 'Absolutely not,'" he said. "I like our club; our core's back."

Video: Turner on his love for Los Angeles, new teammates

That includes Corey Seager, still rehabbing from elbow and hip operations. Having struggled when he returned from knee microfracture surgery in 2016, Turner offered Seager a cautionary message.

"Hopefully he doesn't put too much pressure on himself to go out and try to be an impact guy," said Turner. "There will be a little bit of a curve trying to build his way into it. Just the understanding it's not easy -- there will be good days and bad days.

"To expect to come back and be Corey Seager, All-Star shortstop, from Opening Day on is probably unrealistic after having the injuries he's had. Just so he doesn't beat himself up if he doesn't feel right for the first 25 games. There is a period it will take to get back in the groove of things. Coming back from my knee, I didn't feel myself for two months. You can still do things to help the club win, but you're still not you yet."

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Justin Turner