Turner with the Dodgers in 2015
|Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 10|
|Third baseman / Second baseman|
November 23, 1984 |
Long Beach, California
|September 9, 2009, for the Baltimore Orioles|
(through 2016 season)
|Runs batted in||282|
|Career highlights and awards|
Justin Matthew Turner (born November 23, 1984) is an American professional baseball third baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets. Turner also has experience playing second base, shortstop, and first base.
Turner attended Mayfair High School in Lakewood, California, earning three-time All-Suburban first team honors as a shortstop and second baseman. He hit .514 in league play as a senior, earning most valuable player honors en route to a league title. He attended California State University, Fullerton, where he majored in kinesiology and played college baseball for the Titans. He earned freshman All-American honors from Baseball America in 2003 after quickly taking over as the starting second baseman. He was named to the 2003 College World Series all-tournament team as a shortstop. Many CWS fans that year remember him as the player who was hit in the face by a fastball after going 3 for 3 including a HR. The next year he tasted victory in a two-game final over Texas, as Fullerton won the 2004 College World Series.
Turner was drafted in the 29th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees, but he did not sign. He was drafted in the seventh round (204th overall) of the 2006 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, receiving a $50,000 bonus upon signing with the organization.
Turner reported to the Reds' Rookie League affiliate, the Billings Mustangs, where he saw time at all four infield positions and in the outfield, finishing the season with a team-leading .338 batting average and a .921 OPS. He was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga within two years, finishing the 2008 season, at age 23, with a .289 average and a .792 OPS at that level.
On December 9, 2008, during the Winter Meetings, Turner was traded along with utility player Ryan Freel and infielder Brandon Waring to the Baltimore Orioles, in return for catcher Ramon Hernandez. He was invited to spring training as a non-roster invitee; upon its conclusion, he was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk for the 2009 season. Playing mostly second and third base, he finished the year with a .300 average and a .749 OPS.
The Orioles purchased Turner's contract on September 8, 2009. He made his major league debut the next day at Fenway Park, pinch hitting for Melvin Mora and finishing the game at third base. Three days later, he got his first major league hit at Yankee Stadium, a single to center field off Michael Dunn. He finished the season 3-18, having appeared in 12 games, three of them starts (all at third base).
Turner was invited to spring training as a member of the 40-man roster, but was demoted to Norfolk at the end of camp. However, on April 12, 2010, the Orioles placed starting second baseman Brian Roberts on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Turner from Norfolk. On May 21, 2010, Turner was designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles. In 17 games with the Orioles, he hit .111 (3 hits in 27 at-bats).
New York Mets
On May 25, 2010, Turner was claimed off waivers from the Orioles by the New York Mets and optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. On June 16, Turner was called up to the Mets, with Nick Evans being sent down to Buffalo.
After designating Brad Emaus for assignment on April 19, 2011, the Mets called Turner back up. He hit his first major league home run against the Houston Astros on May 15, 2011, off Aneury Rodriguez. A three-run home run, it capped off a 5-RBI day for Turner. On May 21, in a Subway Series game at Yankee Stadium, Turner collected an RBI in his 7th consecutive game, setting a Mets rookie record for most consecutive games with an RBI. With this record and other impressive stats, Turner was named the NL Rookie of the Month for May 2011. He was the first Met to win the award since its creation in 2001.
In 2012 the Mets converted him to an all-around utility infielder but on May 6, 2012, when shortstop Ruben Tejada went on the disabled list Turner began platooning at shortstop with Jordany Valdespin until Tejada returned.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Following his release from the Mets, Turner had not yet found a new employer when Los Angeles Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach saw Turner hitting at a Cal State Fullerton Alumni game. Turner signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers on February 5, 2014, with an invitation to spring training. His contract was purchased by the Dodgers on March 16 and he was added to the Major League roster.
Turner had a breakout season in 2014, playing 109 games due to his versatility and injuries to both Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe. Turner led the team with a .340 batting average, hitting 7 home runs with 43 RBI in 288 at bats. On January 16, 2015, he signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Dodgers, avoiding salary arbitration. He became the starting third baseman for much of the 2015 season and hit .294 with a career high 16 homers and 60 RBI.
In the 2015 National League Division Series against his former team the Mets, Turner led the Dodgers with 10 hits in 19 ABs for a .526 average, with an LDS record 6 of those hits being doubles. After the Dodgers were eliminated from the post-season, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He signed a new one year, $5.1 million, contract with the Dodgers in order to avoid salary arbitration in January 2016.
In 2016, Turner played in a career-high 151 games, and also had career highs in home runs (27) and RBI (90) while batting .275. He had six hits (including a home run) in 15 at-bats in the 2016 National League Division Series, but struggled in the 2016 National League Championship Series, hitting only .200.
On December 23, 2016, the Dodgers announced that they had re-signed Turner to a four-year contract valued at $64 million.
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- "2015 MLB postseason stats". MLB.com. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Stephen, Eric (October 20, 2015). "Justin Turner to have left knee surgery on Thursday". Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- Stephen, Eric (January 15, 2016). "Justin Turner reportedly signs 1-year, $5.1 million deal, avoids arbitration". SB Nation. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
- Staff (December 23, 2016). "Justin Turner, Dodgers finalize $64M, 4-year contract". Associated Press. Retrieved December 23, 2016 – via USA Today.