When Justin Turner arrived at Dodgers camp to sign his new contract in mid-February, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told the media to jokingly tell the third baseman to twirl in the Zoom room, in order to show off his weight loss.
Turner, who signed a two-year deal to stay with the organization over the offseason, recently completed a Whole30 challenge with his wife, Kourtney, in order to shed some weight. The Whole30 diet includes eating meals with no added sugars, no baked goods or dairy.
Some of his teammates have joked with Turner, telling him he looks like half of himself.
“It went well,” Turner said, when asked about his new diet. “I think I’m in a good spot and it’s probably something that I’ll continue eating clean and I’ll still be eating a lot of Whole30 meals, actually.”
Turner said he’s been trying to get under 200 pounds for the last four or five years, but has had trouble achieving his goal. He has plateaued at 201 or 202 pounds in the past, he said. With the Whole30 diet, he noted that he was as low as 192 pounds. He’s now trying to get back to his playing weight of around 200 pounds.
The reasoning behind the weight loss was simple. He wanted to try and be durable enough to weather the course of an entire season. With Turner, the biggest question mark over the last few seasons has been his durability. At age 36, there were questions as to just how long Turner could be the everyday third baseman, especially now that the National League will be playing without a designated hitter in 2021.
“Your guys’ biggest knock on me is that I don’t stay on the field very often,” Turner said, with a smile. “I’m just trying to be lighter, be more mobile and be more durable.”
With 10 days left until Opening Day, Turner feels the weight loss paying off. He said, unlike in the past, he didn’t feel any soreness after playing seven innings in a Cactus League game. He’s made a few stellar defensive plays already this spring.
Offensively, Turner doesn’t feel the weight loss will hurt his power, though he knows there will be questions about it if he doesn’t start mashing balls in the first few weeks of the season. But the most important thing for the Dodgers is to keep Turner healthy into October. Edwin Ríos and Chris Taylor will both see time at third base this season, but a trim Turner hopes to be in the lineup more often than not.
“I think I'm trending in the right direction right now and things are starting to come together,” Turner said. “Offensively, I’m right where I need to be 10 days before Opening Day.”
For four innings of Monday night's game with the Mariners, Trevor Bauer was dominant. He retired the first 11 batters he faced, striking out five of them. Though he struggled with his control early in the count, Bauer had most of his pitches working in what was his second to last start before the start of the season.
But in the fifth inning, it was the Mariners who were on the attack, hitting three home runs off the reigning NL Cy Young winner. Evan White got it all started with a two-run homer that ricocheted off the batter’s eye. José Marmolejos followed with a long blast of his own to right field. Two batters later, Mitch Haniger hit the third homer of the inning against Bauer.
Though he said he wanted to clean up falling behind in the count, Bauer wasn’t concerned with the results in the fifth inning. Instead, he was pleased because of what he did accomplish on the night, throwing 86 pitches and getting five “ups."
“I got exactly what I wanted out of tonight,” Bauer said. “I was really good the first couple of innings. I was landing curveballs for strikes. [The] slider was good. I felt like I was throwing the ball really well. I got what I wanted out of it. The fifth inning, I was just throwing pitches and there really wasn’t any thought about sequencing.”
Bauer’s last Spring Training start will come on March 27 against the Indians.
• While the Dodgers’ Spring Training rotation lines up Clayton Kershaw, Bauer and Walker Buehler, manager Dave Roberts said the order of the rotation has not been determined for the first series against the Rockies. Kershaw will start Opening Day, but they haven’t decided if Bauer or Buehler will get the second game.
• Brusdar Graterol will face live hitters at some point over the next few weeks, but he won’t pitch in a Cactus League game, according to Roberts. Without getting into any game action, it appears almost certain that Graterol will start the season on the injured list.
“Anything is possible,” Roberts said. “But if we don’t see him in a Cactus League game, it’ll be unlikely that he’ll break [camp] with us.”