Turner stable after frightening hit-by-pitch

March 7th, 2023

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In a scary moment at JetBlue Park on Monday afternoon, Red Sox veteran was hit in the face on a fastball by Tigers right-hander Matt Manning in the bottom of the first inning and was taken to a local hospital via ambulance for observation.

Turner was bleeding and on the ground for a minute as members of Boston’s training staff looked at him and covered his face with a towel.

Later, it was announced that Turner had sustained a facial laceration that required 16 stitches. X-rays of the area came back negative, indicating that Turner dodged a major head injury. Manning stressed the pitch was not intentional after the game, noting he plans to reach out to Turner and apologize.

“It was a complete accident; ball just got away,” Manning said. “I got a swing and miss on a ball kind of up in the zone, so I tried to go back to it, and it just got away from me.”

Turner tweeted the following Tuesday morning: "Thanks to everyone for all the messages and prayers! I’m feeling very fortunate to come out of yesterday with no breaks & all my chiclets in tact. The @RedSox medical staff and @Lee_Health have been absolutely amazing & I’m going to be back out on the field as soon as possible!"

After being hoisted up by a trainer, Turner walked off the field on his own power as the crowd gave him a round of applause.

“We were lucky,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday before Boston faced the Braves. “He's in good spirits. [Red Sox chief baseball officer] Chaim [Bloom] visited him this morning. … I don't know how long [the recovery is] going to take, but the fact that there's no fractures, he’s in a good place. We feel good about it.”

The pitch, according to Cora, hit Turner somewhere between the nose and just above the mouth.

“Anything that is above the shoulders, it’s always scary,” Cora said. “So you hear [it], you go and you just react. There was a lot of blood there. So it was just like, ‘Let's get everybody there and try to help him out.' He was coherent.”

Red Sox rookie first baseman admitted that he was shaken.

“Yeah, I was distraught for like, the first two innings honestly,” Casas said. “As a baseball player, that's your biggest fear, for sure, running into a pitch like that coming up and in. It's a scary sight. And, it was like, hard drop, just like a pit-in-my-stomach feeling.”

The Red Sox signed Turner, a long-time Dodger, to a one-year contract that includes a player option for 2024.

Turner is expected to be the club’s primary DH and will also play first base at times against lefties. In fact, Turner got the start at first on Monday before his day came to a quick end.

Though he has only been with his new teammates for a few weeks, Cora is already touting the right-handed hitter as a clubhouse leader.

“I've gotten pretty close to him, being around him a lot, just trying to pick his brain,” Casas said. “I know he's got a lot of experience. So hopefully he makes a speedy recovery.”