Justin Turner told Dave Roberts he wants to play third base on Wednesday night after being scratched from Tuesday night’s lineup with left hamstring discomfort.
Turner, who missed almost three weeks with a left hamstring strain, was to start at third base for the first time since his return, after serving as designated hitter for five games and running at half speed.
But two hours before game time, Turner was scratched entirely from the lineup and replaced at third base by Edwin Ríos.
“There was just a cramp in his hamstring,” Roberts said after the Dodgers’ 7-2 win over Oakland clinched their eighth consecutive division title. “He went through his pregame and felt good, then something kind of tightened up. As I understand it, I just talked to Justin briefly and he said he wants to be in there tomorrow, so I’ll see how his hamstring is tomorrow. But when a player says he wants to be in there, that’s a good thing.”
Prior to the change, Roberts said he planned for Turner to play part of the game, be relieved by Ríos, then start again on Wednesday night at third base. Roberts said he still intends to use Turner at third base rather than minimize the risk of further injury by having him solely DH.
“No, that’s not the plan. Ultimately, if that’s what it comes to, certainly we’ll take his bat,” Roberts said. “But the goal is to get him out there and playing defense for us. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Turner has reached base safely in 10 of 21 plate appearances (.476 OBP) since returning from the injured list. His 26-game on-base streak is the longest active in MLB.
Turner is indispensable to the Dodgers’ postseason chances because he’s one of the very few players on the roster with proven repeated clutch postseason performances. His October slash line -- .310/.411/.520 -- stands out on a club where most of the position players have underperformed in the postseason.