Washington Nationals’ shortstop Trea Turner missed 51 games on the Disabled List with a fractured left wrist, the result of a fastball to the wrist at the end of a 6 for 14, four walk, seven stolen base series against the Chicago Cubs in late June in Nationals Park.
That series left the 24-year-old shortstop, who got off to a slow start early in 2017, with a .279/.324/.422 line, 13 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, and 35 stolen bases on the season before he caught the Pedro Strop fastball and suffered a non-displaced fracture.
Before he returned to the lineup Tuesday night, following a seven-game, 2 for 19 rehab stint at Triple-A Syracuse and High-A Potomac in the Nationals’ system, Turner talked to the beat writers in the nation’s capital about finally getting back in the Nats’ lineup for the first time since June 29th.
“Just happy, you know,” Turner said. “I feel like I’m back to — not I’m back to normal, but my daily experiences or whatever you want to call it, my daily routine is back to normal. Get up, go to the field, prepare and actually play, not just sit around or wonder if I’m going to Florida or a rehab assignment, this and that, so it’s just nice to be back after two months, and I’m just excited to play.”
Turner said he was determined to get back in time to get some at bats in over the last five weeks before what’s looking like the fourth postseason appearance in six seasons for the Nationals, and the second straight for the former San Diego Padres’ first round pick, acquired by Washington in the June 2015 three-team trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s the one thing that I wanted to do, I wanted to get back as fast as I could,” Turner told reporters.
“Because I want those at bats here, I want those at bats against this competition and in this setting and I think I’m ready for it and ready to help my team and we’ve got to get ready for that late push and hopefully continue to play good baseball all the way through the end of the year.”
Turner returned with a 1 for 4 at the plate against the Miami Marlins, and he made a diving play at short for the final out of a long top of the first, limiting the visitors to one run on a Giancarlo Stanton home run after which they loaded the bases on three walks.
Turner doubled and scored a run in the fifth inning, and drew a walk in his final plate appearance in the ninth before he was stranded.
“He looked pretty good, actually,” Dusty Baker said when asked about Turner returning following the Nationals’ 8-3 win over the Fish in the nation’s capital.
“Took some close pitches, he saw a lot of pitches, which is going to help him get his timing. He played flawless defense at shortstop which he has been working on even though he couldn’t throw. He’s been working on it, and boy, that first inning when Jackson got out of there with one run, that was [big] — especially against this team cause they can score some runs.”
“I was just happy I made a play for Edwin,” Turner said of the diving catch.
“He struggled a little bit in that first, and to get out of that first inning with one run given up to that homer was huge. He pitched great after that so it was just nice to make a good play behind him.”
It was also nice, Turner said, to get back atop a lineup that’s as talented as the one the Nationals have assembled, even with some players still injured and unavailable.
They combined for 12 hits total on the night, with every starter collecting a hit, and went 6 for 10 with runners in scoring position overall.
“I’ve got to get on base for those guys,” Turner said, “it’s always been the game plan all year is just to get on base any way you can because those guys are unbelievable, and they’ve done it all year we’ve had tons, and tons of injuries, but people have stepped up and it seems to not matter who you put in there 1-8 or 9, because everybody is hitting — Edwin even had a hit tonight too, so it’s nice to be in that lineup and it’s fun when we’re clicking.”