The Dodgers announced today that third baseman Justin Turner has been placed on the 10-day DL with a “right groin strain.” Top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo was recalled to take the open roster spot.
There’s no real indication at this point of the seriousness of the injury, but Turner had been nursing some problems in that region already and the organization will surely want to make sure the strain doesn’t get any worse. Skipper Dave Roberts indicated he’s not yet sure whether the veteran may be able to return after the minimum required absence. Obviously, Turner’s progress will in large part dictate the duration.
It’s a bit of a disappointing turn of events for the Dodgers, who just installed Manny Machado into an imposing infield alignment. Of course, the trade also boosted the team’s depth. Machado will slide over from short to the hot corner temporarily, with the pre-trade slate of options still available to handle the remaining open positions.
If there’s a real concern here for the Dodgers, it’s probably the toll of multiple injuries on Turner. He opened the year on the DL with a broken wrist and hasn’t been operating at peak capacity since returning. He’s still delivering outstanding plate discipline and carrying a 110 wRC+, but has seen a significant power drop-off. Plus, Turner is drawing below-average grades in the field and on the bases.
As for Verdugo, the ballyhooed 22-year-old has not produced much at the plate in brief MLB action to this point in his career. But he’s hitting the ball quite well at Triple-A, where he owns a .349/.396/.506 batting line with eight home runs over 283 plate appearances. Verdugo likely would have received a longer look by this point with quite a few other organizations, but he’s still largely blocked in L.A. and may still not be in line for a significant amount of playing time or a lengthy stay in the majors.