Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Turner's injury creates roster domino effect

Void left in wake of third baseman's broken wrist brings opportunity
MLB.com @kengurnick

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Pedro Guerrero's ruptured left knee in 1986. Adrian Beltre's burst appendix in 2001. Jayson Werth's misdiagnosed left wrist in '05. Hanley Ramirez's torn right thumb in the World Baseball Classic in 2013. Andre Ethier's fractured right leg in '16.

And now Justin Turner's broken left wrist, the latest jarring reminder that the Dodgers' best-laid plans can be scrambled in a Spring Training instant.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Pedro Guerrero's ruptured left knee in 1986. Adrian Beltre's burst appendix in 2001. Jayson Werth's misdiagnosed left wrist in '05. Hanley Ramirez's torn right thumb in the World Baseball Classic in 2013. Andre Ethier's fractured right leg in '16.

And now Justin Turner's broken left wrist, the latest jarring reminder that the Dodgers' best-laid plans can be scrambled in a Spring Training instant.

A day off Wednesday was scheduled for rest, but it can serve the double purpose of resetting the psyche of a club so focused on October that it risked overlooking March, April, May, etc.

Whatever natural overconfidence creeps in with five consecutive division titles is sure to be remedied by the Kendall Graveman fastball that put the Dodgers' All-Star third baseman on the sidelines for a month or two, depending on which speculated target date proves accurate.

Video: OAK@LAD: Turner exits in 1st with a broken wrist

Even effervescent manager Dave Roberts couldn't hide the collective disappointment as spokesman for a team needing to replace the irreplaceable.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"That's a tall ask, to be as productive as J.T. is in the box," said Roberts, who will move Logan Forsythe to third base and have Chase Utley and Enrique Hernandez share time at second base. "The big hits he gets, the at-bat quality when he's in the box and the presence. We've got a lot of good players and we'll do the best we can."

General manager Farhan Zaidi said the club will replace Turner in-house and is not looking to make an acquisition.

"Logan is a very good third baseman, and we've got a bunch of guys that can play second," said Zaidi. "It's going to create an opportunity and playing time for guys that might deserve more playing time than they were slated to get. We're trying to look at that positive side of the equation, and it will create an opportunity for some guys to establish themselves."

Video: Farhan Zaidi comments on Turner's wrist injury

The domino effect of losing Turner means the last few roster decisions before Opening Day gain importance. For example, Kyle Farmer was already having a fine Spring Training, but his chances to make the club went from long shot to serious shot, as his right-handed bat off the bench might be needed. Management had already backpeddled from earlier desires to go with an eight-man bullpen and a four-man bench before Turner's injury.

The Dodgers have 29 players in camp. Assuming Andrew Toles shares left field with Matt Kemp, still on the bubble for the final three spots are Farmer, outfielders Joc Pederson and Trayce Thompson and relievers Wilmer Font, Yimi Garcia, JT Chargois and Pat Venditte. The relivers are essentially fighting for a role opened by another injury, Tom Koehler's sprained shoulder capsule.

Thompson and Font are out of options, so player inventory becomes an issue. Sending them to the Minor Leagues means risking their loss on waivers. Of course, other clubs will be taking those same risks with their out-of-option players, and this front office isn't shy with a waiver claim when it sees even an incremental upgrade available. Venditte is on a Minor League contract and his out clause isn't until midseason, so he can be sent out with no ramifications.

Based on spring performance -- which is not necessarily the decisive factor -- Chargois, Venditte and Farmer have shown best. Thompson is batting .306 and hit his first home run on Tuesday. Pederson is hitting .178. Garcia is coming off Tommy John surgery and his sporadic usage this month hints that he's not yet ready for a typical Dodgers bullpen workload.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Justin Turner