Thursday, March 7, 2013
Turner plays OF for first time since '06
By Adam Rubin
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For the first time in seven years, Justin Turner played in the outfield Thursday.
Turner entered the game against the Miami Marlins in left field in place of Lucas Duda in the top of the fifth. He logged two innings there before relocating to first base.
(Jamie Hoffmann took over in left field at that point, putting Hoffmann in position to reach over the wall and take away a homer from Chris Valaika that frame.)
Turner last played in the outfield in 2006, in his first professional season, in Billings, Montana. He logged four games apiece in left field and right field that season.
Terry Collins said he would be more inclined to use Turner in the outfield on a double-switch late in a game, such as after using him as a pinch-hitter, than actually starting him.
The bottom line: Versatility is beneficial -- especially in increasing Turner’s at-bat total after he logged only 185 plate appearances last season, compared with 487 the previous season.
“I don’t know if I’ll start him in a game in the outfield. I may,” Collins said. “It would be if you’ve got to make a double-switch, his ability to play all those positions. And now you’ve got his bat in the lineup and you don’t have to put him in and take him out because he’s only an infielder. You can leave his bat in the lineup if you have to.”
Turner contributed a sixth-inning RBI single against Mitch Talbot en route to the Mets’ 4-1 win Thursday. He is batting .353 in Grapefruit League play.
“We know one thing: He knows how to drive in runs,” Collins said.