LOS ANGELES — Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner isn’t yet back in the lineup, but at the very least will be on the field Tuesday to receive the 2017 Roy Campanella Award, an honor Turner won on Monday.
Turner was hit by a pitch on his right thumb against the Phillies on Thursday in the first inning, and exited that game early, then got a stomach bug before the San Francisco series. The combination of the sickness and the thumb soreness wiped out his whole weekend.
Turner said he thinks the stomach virus is mostly behind him.
“I feel a lot better. I haven’t really done a whole lot of physical activity,’ Turner said. “But I feel better than I did two days ago.”
The thumb is still an issue, though Turner joked he was fine because he’s been texting all day. He took pregame batting practice indoors, and in theory is available to pinch hit on Monday against the Padres, though manager Dave Roberts said he’d try to stay away from Turner in the series opener if possible.
“[The thumb] is still point tender a little bit, where we’re not out of the woods entirely,” Roberts said. “For him to take batting practice and feel good about it, then to get him back in there tomorrow is sort of our plan.”
Turner said that if needed, he could get simulated at-bats from one of the many pitchers in the clubhouse, even during the four days off between the close of the regular season and NLDS.
“October 6 [the date of Game 1] is the date that’s most important,” Turner said. “We have the luxury of having some time, so I want to make sure everything looks good, and don’t want to make it worse.”
The Campanella Award is given annually to the player on the team who best personifies the spirit and leadership of the former Hall of Fame catcher. Chase Utley won in 2016, Zack Greinke in 2015, and Clayton Kershaw won in 2013-2014. This is the 12th year of the award.
“It’s an honor. The award itself, who it’s named after, is pretty special,” Turner said. “You look at some of the company that I’m in, with Chase last year, Kersh has won it before, and Greinke, all are guys who I look up to as a player. To be considered in the same category as them is pretty special.”
The Campanella Award is voted on by Dodgers players and coaches, which made it more important to Turner.
“I don’t think there is anything more validating than when it’s something from your peers and the guys you spend the most time with,” Turner said. “What happens from outside this clubhouse is cool, but these are guys who I consider family, who I spend more time with than anyone. For them to vote for me, and consider me for this award is definitely very, very special.”
With one week remaining in the regular season, Turner still has a chance to win the Dodgers’ first batting title since Tommy Davis in 1963. Turner is hitting .321/.414/.534 on the season, and ranks second in the National League in batting average, trailing Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies.
Blackmon: .3264 (203-for-622)
Turner: .3213 (142-for-442)
Bryce Harper is hitting .326/.419/.614 on the season, but with 472 plate appearances at the moment is nine PA shy of qualifying. Adding nine theoretical hitless at-bats to his total (131-for-402) brings his average down from .3259 to .3187. Harper, who has been out since Aug. 12 with a hyperextended left knee, is due back this week — even with today’s “minor setback” — and could make up most of his PA deficit. The requirement to qualify for the batting title is 3.1 plate appearances per team game, so 502 PA over a 162-game season.
Hyun-jin Ryu played catch on Monday, and the swelling in his contused left forearm has gone down. Up next will be a bullpen session within a few days, and potentially one more regular season start.
“The goal is to get him a start against the Rockies,” Roberts said. “That’s all contingent about how Hyun-jin feels.”
The weekend rotation in Colorado hasn’t yet been revealed, other than that Kershaw will start one of the games (the likeliest day for him seems Saturday). Roberts said that if Yu Darvish, starting Monday night against the Padres, starts against the Rockies, it would be an abbreviated outing.