WASHINGTON -- Trea Turner posted a simple message on his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon: just three smiley face emojis that said it all. After spending two months on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist, Turner was activated prior to Tuesday night's matchup with the Marlins,
WASHINGTON -- Trea Turner posted a simple message on his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon: just three smiley face emojis that said it all. After spending two months on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist, Turner was activated prior to Tuesday night's matchup with the Marlins, back at shortstop and at the top of the Nationals' lineup.
"Just happy," Turner said before the Nats' 8-3 win over the Marlins. "I feel like my daily routine's kind of back to normal. Get up, go to the field, prepare and actually play. Not just sit around and wonder if I'm going to Florida or rehab assignment or this and that. It's just nice to be back after two months. I'm excited to play."
Infielder Adrian Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse in a corresponding move, and outfielder Ryan Raburn was moved to the 60-day DL to clear room on the 40-man roster.
A day after right-hander Max Scherzer and outfielder Jayson Werth were activated from the DL, Washington also got a boost with its electric leadoff hitter back. Turner hit .279/.324/.422 with 35 stolen bases in 68 games before he broke his wrist on June 29 after being struck by a 96-mph fastball from Cubs reliever Pedro Strop.
After missing the past 51 games, Turner spent this past week on Minor League rehab assignment, playing in seven games and going 2-for-21 with a double and a walk. Turner said he was surprised his wrist feels as strong as it does and said now he can swing without any discomfort or second thoughts.
So he was not concerned about the numbers during his rehab stint.
"I wanted to get back here as fast as I could because I want those at-bats here," Turner said. "I want those at-bats against this competition and in this setting. I think I'm ready for it."
Turner's return almost certainly means reduced playing time for his replacement, Wilmer Difo, who had played well in Turner's absence. Since June 30, Difo is batting .339/.388/.461 with seven stolen bases while playing excellent defense at shortstop. He has 14 defensive runs saved this season, according to Fangraphs, which is tied with Cubs shortstop Addison Russell for the second-most in MLB (Andrelton Simmons of the Angels has 24).
Difo has been so valuable that manager Dusty Baker met with him upon Turner's activation. Baker let Difo know he would try to find opportunities to keep his bat in the lineup, moving him around the infield and outfield. Difo made his first career start in right field Tuesday.
"I was very happy to fill in and do my job," Difo said through an interpreter. "Hopefully I continue helping the team down the road and play well. That's what I'm here for."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.