Justin Turner returned to the Dodgers' lineup on Tuesday night as if he hadn’t missed nearly three weeks with a hamstring injury.
Serving as designated hitter, Turner went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Padres at Petco Park.
“He’s just got a great heartbeat and understands what he’s trying to do in the batter's box, what he’s trying to do in his approach and his bat-to-ball skills are just very good,” said manager Dave Roberts. “I didn’t think he’d throw out three hits, but nothing surprises me with JT.”
The lineup needs an infusion of quality at-bats, with the season-long slumps of reigning MVP Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Joc Pederson. Turner showed no rust
“It felt good to be productive right out of the gate,” said Turner. “I’ve been hitting all along. Hitting never bothered anything. I got a chance to take live AB's, felt good with that, and I’ve got enough AB's under my belt to feel pretty comfortable.”
Turner was injured Aug. 28 stealing second base. He and Roberts confirmed that his baserunning will be conservative to try to keep him intact for the postseason.
“We told him to put the governor on and be smart,” said Roberts. “It’s more about getting him in the lineup, getting at-bats to get his timing down. As we get toward the postseason, as long as we can net positive each day, he’ll continue to get better. To expect him to let out a double, that’s the cost of us having him in the lineup for these first few days.”
• Slumping infielders Muncy and Gavin Lux were out of the starting lineup even though the Padres started right-hander Zach Davies.
Muncy, batting .198, has nine strikeouts in his last 17 at-bats. Lux, batting .163, has seven strikeouts in his last 15 at-bats.
• Reliever Joe Kelly is eligible to be activated on Wednesday after serving his five-game suspension.