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Where will Trea play? How will the Washington Nationals find a role for Trea Turner?

Here's what Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker and Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo have said about the plans for how they will use Trea Turner going forward? Will he take over at short? Will he end up in center? Here's what they've said...

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Where will Trea Turner play now that Ryan Zimmerman is back? What will Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker do with the recently-turned 23-year-old infielder?

Both Baker and Nats' GM Mike Rizzo have talked in recent weeks in post game interviews and radio interviews about how they plan to handle the top infield prospect in the organization in the 63 games that remain on the regular season schedule and beyond...

Rizzo was asked simply in an MLB Network Radio interview earlier this month if we'd see Turner get more at bats down the stretch?

In 83 games and 371 plate appearances at Triple-A, the right-handed hitting and throwing shortstop, who's seen time at second and in center, has put up a .302/.370/.471 line, with 22 doubles, eight triples, six home runs and 25 stolen bases in 27 attempts.

"I'd like to see him get a little bit more consistent at bats. But again, we're in the pennant race here and there's not a lot of opportunity..." -Mike Rizzo on Trea Turner on MLB Network Radio 7/17/16

He'd been back up in the majors for seven days and played in three games when Rizzo was asked about how Turner would be used.

"Trea is an asset for us and a real asset for us off the bench if we decide to do that," Rizzo said.

"I'd like to see him get a little bit more consistent at bats. But again, we're in the pennant race here and there's not a lot of opportunity for him to play the way [Danny Espinosa] and [Daniel] Murphy are playing and I think we're going to get him in there as much as possible and make a concerted effort to get him some at bats.

"We've got three left-handed starters coming with the Dodgers so I think he'll get time there and I think Dusty is going to hand pick the times where he plays to maximize his value."

So where would he see time?

"I think he's going to get some time in the middle infield, giving guys rest," Rizzo said.

"And I think that you may see him see what he can do in center field. He's never played it in the big leagues, obviously, but we're going to ease him in slowly there, because it's so tough to be a young rookie not only preparing to play offensively but to play defensively at a position you've never played and learning at the big league-level is difficult.

"But if anybody can do it, he can do it, because he's an extreme athlete with a great skill set, so I feel confident wherever we play him he's going to have an impact on the game."

If nothing else, could be just be used as a pinch runner late in games and an option off the bench for Baker to use when he can?

"I can really see something like that happening," Rizzo said, and it would take advantage of his speed, but he can offer more.

"It's a real impactful tool that he brings. It's a skill set. I think he can be much more than that, especially in a playoff scenario and if he's not getting regular everyday at bats in the lineup he could really come off the bench and impact the game not only offensively in the batter's box, but on the bases, because he's an extremely exciting and impactful player offensively and a guy that gives Dusty versatility to do double switches and to really implement in the lineup where we feel we can maximize his value."

Turner went 3 for 13 with two triples and three runs scored in the three-game series with the Dodgers. Baker liked what he saw from the Turner in terms of the game-changing speed Rizzo and others have talked about as Turner has made his way up.

"I'm used to speed," Baker said after the Nationals' one win in the second game of the three-game set with LA.

"I'm used to speed. I love speed. You heard me say that in Spring Training. Speed kills. And it does a lot of things and it creates a lot of mistakes. Not to talk about myself, but I signed on speed and I had fast cars and a lot of tickets. So, I love speed."

So, he was asked, when Ryan Zimmerman returned from the DL, and theoretically to first on an everyday basis, provided he can stay healthy, where would Turner fit it? Would they use him in center?

"It's too soon for that," Baker said of the decisions that had to be made.

"Let's wait and see where this thing goes, and hopefully nobody else gets hurt, but we'll see when we get there.

"But he takes fly balls on the outfield every day, they're playing him in center field. You just can't throw somebody out in the outfield in big league games. There are routes and drop steps that you have to take.

"Turner is ready NOW. It is the Nats job to find a place to play him. My solution would be simple: Put Turner in CF, give him the job to lose..." -Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell on Trea Turner 7/25/16

"We had people in the minor leagues working with him and in the infield you take a shallow drop step, but in the outfield you take a major drop step when you have go back to your right or left or a ball over your head.

"And then it's the routes that you take in the outfield and sometimes as a young outfielder you take the direct route when you should take really the banana route and there are some balls that tail back to you and some balls that slice away from you or hook away from you, most of the time it's a hook. He's been working out there quite a bit."

Before the series finale with the Dodgers, Baker was asked how Turner, who'd hit in four of five games since returning to the majors before that afternoon (going 5 for 23 with two triples, seven Ks and two stolen bases), was progressing offensively. Had his approach progessed? Was it too small a sample? Was he tring too hard to make things happen?

"It's the same thing I saw in Spring Training," Baker said, though he wasn't about to help opposing teams by telling the press what he saw.

"I can't tell the world," he said. "We've all got strengths and weaknesses. One thing for sure, if there something they'll find it sooner or later. They might not find it this year, could be a couple years from now, but sooner or later, then it's how you combat what they're trying to do to you."

In the third game of three with the San Diego Padres on Sunday, Turner went 2 for 5 with a triple and two runs scored in what ended up a 10-6 loss, but Baker talked again about the difference he was able to make as part of the lineup.

"He's an impact player," Baker said. "Delino DeShields had told me that this winter, that he had him in the fall league and he said that he's an impact player, so now we've just got to find a place.

"With [Ryan Zimmerman] coming back, find a place for him to play, and is it better for him to go play every day or is it better to play sometimes here or make a determination is it all the time."

Is it time to put him in center field with Michael A. Taylor optioned to Triple-A last night and Ben Revere struggling at the plate since he got injured on Opening Day and missed significant time on the disabled list? Turner told reporters that he was ready if he was asked to take the outfield for the first time in the majors.

"[I did] fine," Turner told reporters on Sunday, as quoted by CSN Mid-Atlantic's Chase Hughes, referring to the time he spent in the outfield in the minors.

"I think I got a couple tough balls hit at me, line drives, and I made the right decisions at the time. I made all the plays that came to me. At the same time, I know it's not as easy as that. You've gotta play balls off the wall.

"In big league ballparks, it's going to be a lot different everywhere you go. Guys are a lot stronger, so they hit the ball a little bit farther. You've gotta take all that into account as well and learn."

So is he ready for the outfield? Baker was asked that question after Sunday's game.

"We'll see. You keep wanting me to say yes, but we'll see," he told the reporter who asked.

"I've got to get Zim back in the lineup. I've got to get him going, because he's a big part of our offense and certainly if I get Zim back in the lineup then that means Murphy is at second base, so..."