GLENDALE, Ariz. — Justin Turner‘s transition from super-utility infielder to everyday third baseman coalesced last year under Don Mattingly, but he still managed to play all four infield positions for the Dodgers. He’s done that each of the last four seasons.
On Wednesday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that Turner will exclusively be a third baseman in camp.
“We’re going to keep him over there at third base where he’s comfortable, have him catch some grounders over there,” Roberts said. “I think the only moving around he’ll do is when we do situational things, as far as defending the shift, where the third baseman will have to go over to the other side of the diamond for that purpose.”
That’s not because Turner is recovering from an off-season microfracture procedure on his left knee. The Dodgers see him as a third baseman now.
It’s not as if the Dodgers need positional versatility. Enrique Hernandez believes he can play all nine positions, while veteran second basemen Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick have agreed to try their hand at third base. Corey Seager played some third base last year too, though Roberts said he will use Seager exclusively at shortstop for now.
What makes this interesting is that, for all the Dodgers’ apparent interest in collecting versatile position players, they had an established four-position player in Turner who will now be limited to one.
Turner will participate in the Dodgers’ first full-squad workout Thursday, but Roberts said he “might be tempered a little bit.”