Dodgers’ Justin Turner: ‘I’m Still A Young Guy’

As Alex Verdugo was beginning to assert himself with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, he created a ‘Don’t let the kid get hot!’ rallying cry. Verdugo then applied it to other rookies and youngsters as the Dodgers received contributions throughout their roster.

When Russell Martin delivered a walk-off hit against the St. Louis Cardinals last month, he hijacked Verdugo’s saying. “Let the old guys get hot, too, you know?” the 36-year-old quipped. That was exactly what transpired Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies.

After Cody Bellinger and Matt Beaty reached in the seventh inning, Martin put the Dodgers ahead with a three-run home run. David Freese then followed with a pinch-hit blast to the opposite field, giving the Dodgers back-to-back home runs for a 16th time this season.

Justin Turner capped off their 5-3 victory with a line-drive home run to left field in the eighth inning. In the blink of an eye, the Dodgers were rescued by veterans.

“Yeah, it’s great. I think we’re going to go to Denny’s after this, get on the 55 and over menu, order some grand slams,” Turner joked.

“Big swing obviously by Russell, two strikes and gets us a lead. Before we even get done giving him high-fives, Freeser gives us a little cushion. Two back-to-back great at-bats off a guy who’s been throwing the ball really well for them all year.”

But while Turner may be classified with his older teammates, the 34-year-old noted a uniqueness to his career. “I didn’t start playing every day until I was 31 years old, so I’m still a young guy as far as a starter in this league,” Turner reasoned.

His home run was No. 27 this season, which tied a career high set during a 2016 season that saw Turner finish ninth in National League MVP voting. He’s slugged 17 home runs after the All-Star break this year, which is third-most among all players during that span.

“I just feel like the more at-bats you get underneath your belt, the easier it is to make adjustments pitch-to-pitch and in-game adjustments,” he said. “I feel like once I hit that 100 or 150 AB mark, something always clicks.

“I never considered myself a home run hitter. I just try to hit the ball as hard as I can and sometimes it’s high enough that it goes over the fence. I like getting on base, scoring runs and driving in runs. If they come by homers then they come by homers.”