Dodgers News: Justin Turner Hoping To Benefit From Offseason Changes
The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Justin Turner to a Minor League contract in February of 2014 with an invitation to Spring Training. The utility infielder wound up making the roster and contributing more than many expected, starting 67 games and having the best season of his career.
Despite his great 2014 season, Turner decided to make some changes in the offseason. According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, the 30 year old lost 18 pounds this winter by working out with Dodgers strength and conditioning coach Brandon McDaniel at Dodger Stadium nearly every day and changing his diet:
I definitely changed everything I did,” said Turner, who grew up in Lakewood, attended Cal State Fullerton and lives in Los Angeles. “It was the most convenient and productive winter I’ve ever had.”
Turner batted .340 with a .897 OPS in 322 plate appearances and was arguably the Dodgers’ best clutch hitter, batting .419 with runners in scoring position last season. He admitted to not enjoying the workouts but viewed them as necessary to put himself in better position for more playing time in 2015:
It wasn’t fun,” he said of the workouts. “I was on a little bit of a leash last year as far as how much they felt I could play. I want to get off that, get away from that label.”
The Dodgers starting infield consists of 32-year-old Adrian Gonzalez, 31-year-old Howie Kendrick, 36-year-old Jimmy Rollins, and 35-year-old Juan Uribe. With an infield full of players in the latter half of their careers, injuries are always a concern.
Turner’s offseason training program should pay dividends as manager Don Mattingly recently said he’ll more heavily rely on the super-utility player at multiple positions throughout the year so as to keep the group of infielders fresh.
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JT is more valuable off the bench, but with the age of the left side of the infield he should get a lot of work. SS and 2rd are his 2 strongest positions anyway.