I was working late last night preparing for some morning meetings today (one had to reschedule), when I noticed that I could pull up the Dominican Winter League on my computer on ESPN3. Cool. Even cooler, I tuned in to see Justin Turner have a good at bat. Down in the count, he fought off a 94 mph fastball foul the other way, took another heater high and away for ball two and then ripped a two-run double into left-center that briefly gave Escogido a five-run advantage.
However, the Gigantes del Cibao fought back, aided in part by a pop-up into shallow right field that dropped harmlessly over the head of former Met Joaquin Arias, who was playing second. I thought it was really the right-fielder’s ball, but Arias took a funky route back anyway.
In seven games in the DWL, Turner is hitting .333/.375/.400 with two doubles, a walk and five strikeouts. Remember, the DWL plays somewhere between AA and AAA, so we should expect him to hit.
The more surprising thing was that he lined up at third base. He played two games at second for Norfolk when he was with the Orioles early this year and then seven games at the hot corner at third for Ken Oberkfell in Buffalo and Escogido. All told, Turner had played 32 games at third prior to 2010, with 22 of his starts at the position in 2009. I didn’t see him handle a whole lot of chances. Actually, I didn’t see any. Nonetheless, for you Justin Turner fans out there, and yes, there are a whole bunch, keep his versatility in mind too as you pump his candidacy for a roster spot in spring training.
I’ll add too that he looked to be a few pounds lighter than the headshot at right would suggest.