Trea Turner acknowledged that he probably should have run out his bunt attempt in the series opener with the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, but the pitch tailed in on him, he somehow got it down, but more in self-defense than in an attempt to get a hit, and then, frustrated, he failed to run it out, dropping his gear and walking up the third base line as home plate ump Nic Lentz and the opposing pitcher waited.
Lentz eventually punched him out.
“I thought I was going to hit by it, and then end up bunting it fair somehow, but for me, by the time I got my feet underneath me from backing away I felt like the pitcher was already standing there, so, I probably should have run to first,” Turner said after the game.
“I actually thought the ball hit him,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said. “I thought it hit him in the hand or something. I was trying to scream inside to see what they saw and they said he bunted the ball.
“So I was like, ‘Why would he walk up the field?’ So, in that moment, we’re trying to win a ballgame, so there’s a good chance he won’t play tomorrow.”
Turner was just 5 for 40 (.125/.167/.225) with a double, a homer, two walks, and 12 Ks in 43 plate appearances over the ten games before the opener with the Brewers.
Martinez told reporters before the second game of the series on Tuesday night that he thought a night off might help the shortstop.
“Honestly, I really felt after yesterday he probably needed a day off,” the first-year skipper said.
“He’s available, but let him just ponder about it and let’s get him right. We need Trea.
“Trea is a very good player. I don’t know if you guys know, but he won the Heart and Hustle award, so this is just one of those things. I don’t ask these guys to be perfect, but I want them to be present every day and I know he knows that. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and he’ll be back in there.”
Turner, who came on as a pinch runner late last night (and got caught stealing), has now appeared in all of the Nationals’ 100 games this season, with a .263/.338/.401 line, 15 doubles, two triples, 12 homers, and 22 stolen bases. He’s been worth 2.7 fWAR over 445 plate appearances, second among all NL shortstops.
How will Turner respond after a night (mostly) off?