It’s hard to imagine the Washington Nationals without Trea Turner at shortstop.
That's because when he’s healthy, he plays. Every day.
And Turner knows he’s going to remain in the lineup every day, no matter how he’s playing.
The weekend series against the Miami Marlins is a case study in his perseverance.
“It was good, it was good to get a lead. And especially when (Max Scherzer) is on the mound,” he told reporters after hitting his 12th home run of the season, and his first in more than a week, in the Nats’ 5-1 win over the Marlins.
Turner and the Nationals both came into Miami on a roll, although Turner came into the game with only one home run this month after he hit 10 in April and May.
Turner continued to get on base and score runs in the series opener Thursday, but made his tenth error of the season in that game, and another one in the Nats’ 11-2 loss on Friday, then went 0-for-4 in the Nats’ second straight loss to the Marlins on Saturday.
But Turner came back Sunday with his first home run in more than a week, driving in Kyle Schwarber in the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie.
“Got two pitches in the middle of the zone, I fouled off the first one, a changeup, and then didn’t miss the second one,” Turner said.
“I feel like at times during the series I haven’t had much to hit and when I have I’ve missed them and it just came down to that at bat just not missing a pitch I should hit, and it went out.”
Almost a week before Turner’s last home run on June 19, a reporter noticed it had been more than a month since his previous homer, and suggested Turner might be tired.
Somehow Not an All-Star Finalist Trea Turner™ leads all NL shortstops in...— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 27, 2021
He's 2nd in fWAR (3.0). This is his 12th HR of the season.@treavturner // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/NFgQT6kOcO
“He understands that he’s got to play. He’s our shortstop, he’s the guy — I’ve always said — he’s the guy that really makes our lineup go,” Martinez said on June 13.
“When he gets on base he makes things happen. So if he needs a day off, he knows that he can come to my office and if I can give him a day off I will.”
Turner hasn’t had a day off this season and missed just one game in the 60-game 2020 campaign, the day after a doubleheader in September.
The only time he missed in the Nats’ 2019 World Series season were the 40 games he sat with a broken finger on his right hand, and he then famously played the majority of the season unable to straighten it before having surgery in early 2020.
Prior to playing 162 games in the 2018 season, Turner’s last healthy scratch was May 9, 2017, when manager Dusty Baker gave him a “mental day off” following a hitless weekend series.
But Turner, even amid the grind of everyday play, still has his mind on the next game and what the Nats need to do to win.
“Today we won and tomorrow I think we have the Mets I believe, and we got to do it all over again tomorrow, so whoever we’re playing it is what it is,” he said.
“We play defense, we hit, get the timely hitting, and we pitch, so we’ve just got to keep doing those three things.”