SCOTTSDALE -- The designated hitter will affect a trio of Dodgers over two days, including their ace starting pitcher and a pair of players rehabbing from knee injuries.
Justin Turner will start in his first Cactus League game of 2016 on Monday for the Dodgers against the Brewers, and he will do so at third base. The original plan was for Turner, coming off October microfracture surgery on his left knee, to be the designated hitter for a game or two before playing the field, but he has played and looked good in the field during minor league action and simulate games.
"He feels up to it, the training staff is on board, so I'm excited," manager Dave Roberts said Sunday. "He has progressed better than we had hoped."
Turner is expected to get two or three plate appearances on Monday, and play four or five innings at third base, per Roberts.
Sunday marks Turner's 11th day of games missed, though all parties are confident he will be ready by opening day.
The Dodgers are not using the designated hitter at all on Sunday against the Rockies, giving Clayton Kershaw a chance for one plate appearance, the first Dodgers pitcher to bat this spring.
Kershaw drew a four-pitch walk from Jordan Lyles in the second inning in his first time up.
"We got Kersh going, to get him an at-bat, to get him in the box," Roberts said. "As it lines up, his next start is against the White Sox and he won't get an opportunity to hit."
That next start for Kershaw will be Saturday, giving Kershaw an extra day of rest in between starts. He will get another extra day of rest again once more in order to line up to start on opening day, April 4 against the Padres in San Diego. The Dodgers are off on March 23, which could mark his next extra rest period, especially since it allows the Dodgers to remain on rotation in their current order, should they prefer to do so.
Alex Guerrero, who has dealt with a sore knee for over a week, was scratched as the designated hitter on Saturday but is in uniform with the club on Sunday, and will likely get one at-bat as a pinch hitter at some point during the game, Roberts said.
Other Dodgers scheduled to pitch behind Kershaw on Sunday include Adam Liberatore, Yimi Garcia, Matt West, Chris Anderson and Jharel Cotton.
Three pitchers from minor league camp are in uniform for the Dodgers on Sunday — Jeremy Kehrt (No. 88), Ralston Cash (90) and Chin-hui Tsao (89).