PHOENIX -- Justin Turner has played all four infield positions in each of the last four seasons, and has played at least three positions in his last six years. But the plan for 2016 is for Turner to stay put at third base, anchoring the hot corner for the Dodgers.
"We're going to keep him over there at third base, where he's comfortable," manager Dave Roberts said on Wednesday.
Turner is coming off microfracture surgery in his left knee in October, and the Dodgers don't want him putting extra pressure on his knee playing multiple positions. The transition essentially happened in 2015, when 88 of his 98 starts came at third base, with six starts at first base, three at second base and one at shortstop.
The club had a chance to acquire Todd Frazier, who hit 35 home runs in 2015, in December, but that move would have required either moving Turner into more of a second base / utility role or Frazier to left field. The club opted instead to to acquire three prospects from the White Sox, with three Dodgers prospects going to Cincinnati, Frazier's old home.
"We happen to feel like we've got a really good third baseman as well, in Justin Turner," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in December. "Coming off knee surgery, we felt like it was in everyone's best interest for him to be locked in at third."
Turner has been very productive in his two years in Los Angeles, hitting a combined .314/.384/.492 with a .381 wOBA in 235 games in his two years, his 148 wRC+ ranking 11th in baseball among players with at least 700 plate appearances during that span.
Turner has been in Dodgers camp for over a week, but he and the rest of the team will begin full workouts officially on Thursday. His recovery from surgery has gone well to date, but the Dodgers won't be pushing Turner to the extreme, at least in the early going in camp.
"He's progressing well. He's been taking grounders for a couple weeks. He's doing some running, he's doing lateral movement. He's swinging the bat, and stretching it out with his arm," Roberts said. "He's going to be full participation but as far as the intensity it might be tempered a little bit."
While Turner won't see time at other positions, some of the others will, with second baseman Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick both expected to see some time at third base during the spring. Kendrick, who will get the presumed bulk of the playing time at second base, has played one game at third base in his career, in 2006. Utley played three career games at the hot corner, all in 2015.
Roberts also said Corey Seager would not see time at third base, but rather remain at shortstop. That leaves Kiké Hernandez, who can play multiple positions in the infield and outfield, as the primary backup at shortstop. General manager Farhan Zaidi on Monday mentioned non-roster invitees Charlie Culberson and Elian Herrera as potential for next in line on the shortstop depth chart.
One of the players acquired from the Whie Sox in the aforementioned Frazier trade was infielder Micah Johnson, who to date has played no other position in the field in the majors or minors other than second base. Roberts was asked if Johnson would play multiple positions to increase his versatility or chances to make the big league club.
"We're learning Micah. The reports are good. The one thing he does bring to the table is that he can really run. To bring that type of speed, we don't really have any burners. He definitely brings a dynamic. His bat to ball skills, he can conduct an at-bat. Those are nice components for a player," Roberts said. "For now, he's comfortable and we're going to leave him at second base."
One person not mentioned on Wednesday was Alex Guerrero, who played third base and left field for the Dodgers in 2015.