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Justin Turner proving quite valuable in reserve

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO -- Justin Turner makes another start at third base on Friday night for the Dodgers against the Padres in the opener of a three-game series, looking to continue what has been a magical year for the utility infielder.

Looking back the Dodgers got incredibly lucky with Turner, finalizing his minor league deal on Feb. 6, just two days before pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch.

Turner won a spot on the opening day roster and has proved quite valuable, starting games at all four infield positions. Friday is his 10th start in 11 games. Turner is hitting .321/.392/.444, career highs across the board, in 265 plate appearances.

Turner's 138 OPS+ trails only Scott Van Slyke (151) and Yasiel Puig (149) on the Dodgers this season. Turner's 142 wRC+ also ranks third on the team.

Since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, there have only been 12 times a non-first-baseman Dodgers infielder has put up a 130 OPS+ in at least 300 plate appearances. Five of those seasons were by Ron Cey, and two more by Pedro Guerrero.

The 29-year-old Turner is having one of the most memorable campaigns in LA Dodgers history, and one of the most surprising. Turner entering 2014 was a .260/.323/.361 hitter with a 92 OPS+ and 93 wRC+.

Turner, who went to high school in Lakewood and college at Cal State Fullerton, has been even better of late. He has five multi-hit games in is last seven contests and is hitting .377/.472/.492 in August. In his last 66 games, including 43 starts, Turner is hitting.370/.442/.520 with 35 runs scored and 27 RBI.

He is 8-for-20 (.400) with three doubles and a home run against the Padres this season, and dating back to 2012 his .450 (18-for-40) batting average against San Diego leads all active players.

Turner hasn't yet faced Padres starter Andrew Cashner.

Puig, hit less in his last 18 at-bats (though with six walks during that span), gets the day off, likely manager Don Mattingly utilizing Thursday's off day to give the slumping Puig two full days of rest. Andre Ethier starts in center field.