Dodgers remove ‘utility’ tag from Justin Turner, apparently don’t value versatility above all.

Justin Turner

Third baseman Justin Turner will participate in the Dodgers’ first full-squad workout Thursday. (Associated Press photo)

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.

Clearly, the Dodgers also value defense. Advanced statistics rated Turner poorly at first base, second base and shortstop. Scott Van Slyke and Utley can both back up Adrian Gonzalez at first.

Turner will participate in the Dodgers’ first full-squad workout Thursday, but Roberts said he “might be tempered a little bit.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.