Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Praises Justin Turner For Work Ethic, Team-First Mentality
Via Dodger Blue
When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Justin Turner to a Minor League contract in 2014, it was merely viewed as a veteran depth signing for Spring Training. Turner, 29 years old at the time, had just been non-tendered by the New York Mets and hoped to catch on with a new organization.
The Long Beach, Calif., native was relegated to the bench for the Mets and posted league-average numbers during his four-year stint with the club. Prior to that, Turner spent some time with the Baltimore Orioles, but only tallied a combined 31 plate appearances over two seasons.
With the Dodgers, his childhood team growing up, Turner has established himself as one of the best third basemen in all of baseball. After a successful utility role with the team in 2014, he became the everyday starter the following season.
He’s since been selected to his first-career All-Star team, among many other accolades. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts praised Turner this season for never losing sight of the ultimate goal, in addition to always putting the team first, per Scott Miller of Bleacher Report:
“He’s a guy who’s always been a leader in his own right, but the road he’s endured, to stabilize himself as a major league player and as an All-Star, to see that unfold…” manager Dave Roberts says. “I empower him a lot in our clubhouse because he believes in what I believe in. He’s all about team first. Certain guys just command the respect of their teammates, and J.T.’s at the top of the list.”
Turner enjoyed a career year in 2017, behind a .322/.415/.530 batting line with 32 doubles, 21 home runs and 71 RBI. Along with his excellent work at third base, he accumulated a personal-high 5.7 WAR (Baseball-Reference)
Turner once again elevated his game during the postseason, slugging a total of four home runs in 15 games. He earned co-MVP honors with Chris Taylor for his performance in the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, and hit one of the most memorable home runs in franchise history.
His homer, which coincidentally occurred on the 29-year anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, propelled the Dodgers to a 2-0 lead over the defending World Series champions.
The Dodgers would go on to win the series in five games and advanced to their first Fall Classic since 1988. The club fell just short of ending their 29-year drought, as the Houston Astros emerged from a back-and-forth series in seven games.
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