Dodgers give up…Boston goes and resurrects, 20 homers at 39, “Mr. Clutch for 10 years”
After being waived by the Los Angeles Dodgers, veteran infielder Justin Turner, 39, has resurfaced with the Boston Red Sox. For the first time in two years, Turner has become a free agent success story, reaching the 20-homer plateau.메이저놀이터
Turner batted third in the lineup against the New York Yankees on April 21 and went 2-for-4 with a home run, his 20th of the season, four RBI, one walk and three stolen bases in Boston’s 6-5 victory. Boston swept a three-game series against the Yankees.
Turner’s single broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, the Yankees sent Rafael Devers to first base on an automatic double play, putting Turner in a no-win situation. Turner took a first-pitch sweeper from Yankees right-hander Michael King over the left-center field fence. It was his 20th home run of the season. It’s the first time he’s reached the 20-homer plateau in two years since 2021 (27).
With the game tied 5-5 in the ninth, Turner came through again. With runners on first and third, he drove a two-seam low sinker from Yankees closer Clay Holmes into the right field seats for a two-run double. It was the game-winning hit. His two clutch hits in the late innings showed that he is a “clutch hitter.
After the game, Turner said of the ninth-inning situation, “I wasn’t trying to do too much,” according to MLB.com. I was just trying to get a pitch to the outfield to get one out,” Turner said of Devers’ high four-pitch at-bat in the seventh inning, “That’s what I would have done, but it definitely feels good to take a good swing in that situation.”
Closer Kenley Jansen, who is playing with Turner again this year in Boston after being with the Dodgers from 2014-2021, said, “I’ve watched him for 10 years as Mr. Clutch, and nothing gets in his way. He goes out there every game and gives it his all. The way he takes care of himself every day in the clubhouse, the way he prepares and his consistency is just incredible. It’s fun to be around him. It’s fun to have him as a teammate again.”
Turner, who suffered a left heel contusion on April 1 against the Seattle Mariners, is still sore and has been playing mostly designated hitter lately. But he played first base against the Yankees on April 20-21 when starting first baseman Tristan Casas was sidelined with a tooth infection. Boston manager Alex Cora said, “Turner did a good job at the plate. He’s a good hitter with a double, a home run and a line drive double, but he’s also a great leader. I’m glad he’s playing for us. It means a lot.”
Turner, the Dodgers’ starting third baseman and center fielder for nine years from 2014 to last year, was a clubhouse leader and exemplary moral compass. But last year, he spiraled downward, batting .278 (130-for-468) with 13 home runs, 81 RBIs and a .788 OPS in 128 games. The Dodgers waived Turner’s $16 million team option for 2023 after the season. He was expected to re-sign at a lower salary, but the Dodgers signed designated hitter J.D. Martinez, three years younger, to a one-year, $10 million deal.
After failing to re-sign with the Dodgers, Turner went to Boston, where Martinez was playing. He signed a one-year, $15 million guaranteed, two-year, $21.7 million max deal. While Martinez, who switched teams in a trade, is fulfilling the Red Sox’ expectations by batting .351 (25-for-90) with 25 homers, 78 RBIs, and an .856 OPS in 92 games, Turner is hitting .844 (20-for-124) with 20 homers, 79 RBIs, and an .844 OPS in 112 games.
Turner has a $13.4 million player option with Boston for next year. If Turner doesn’t exercise it, he can become a free agent again with a $6.7 million buyout. At this rate, he should be able to land a bigger contract in free agency.