Dodgers glad to be back at work, away from World Series talk
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Justin Turner heard about it for weeks. He couldn’t get away from talk about the Dodgers’ seven-game loss to the Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series.
Waiters asked Turner about it when he tried to order a meal. The Los Angeles third baseman even heard about it at a wedding. Of course, the wedding also happened to be in Houston about a week after a 5-1 loss in Game 7.
Nevertheless, Turner began to think there was just no escape from the noise. Or the disappointment.
Turner remembered that he just wanted the season to continue as he watched the Astros pour onto the field at Dodger Stadium to celebrate their dramatic victory on Nov. 1.
“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Turner said. “It’s so disappointing. That never really goes away.”
But the game always resumes. For Turner and his teammates, there was relief in that as they began to play again Monday in their first full-squad practice at Camelback Ranch.
“Everybody has been talking about the World Series and that’s OK,” Turner said.
Turner batted .322, third best in the National League last season, and went on to share co-MVP with teammate Chris Taylor in the NL Championship Series victory over the Chicago Cubs. Yet Turner struggled in the World Series with only four hits in 25 at-bats.
“There’s not a lot left to talk about. We all dealt with it in our own way. It’s just really good to get back to work,” he said.
Still, manager Dave Roberts couldn’t ignore it in his address to the Dodgers before they went to work on a windy day in the Arizona desert.
“I told them to be aware of what happened and to be resilient,” Roberts said. “I also told them to be focused on each day and to work at putting ourselves in the same position this season that we were in last season.”
“It’s pretty clear that the mood is good among the guys — 26 guys from last year’s club and 26 guys who weren’t here last year.”
Roberts expressed confidence the Dodgers could get back to the World Series and perhaps win one more game for the championship that eluded them last fall. The key pieces — pitcher Clayton Kershaw, closer Kenley Jansen, shortstop Corey Seager, infielder and 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger, outfielder Yasiel Puig and Turner — are back.
“We’ve got young guys who are only going to get better and veteran guys who are really performing at a high level,” said Roberts, whose club plays its first spring game Friday against the Chicago White Sox. “So, we’ve just got to continue to stay the course.”
As always, however, there are questions. Seager, 23, arrived in camp after an offseason of rehabilitation for back and elbow injuries. He sprained his back sliding into second base against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL Division Series.
An injury to his right elbow sidelined him for a week late last season. The Dodgers decided against surgery. Instead, Seager was prescribed rehab and rest.
“I feel good,” said Seager, who is confident he’ll be ready for opening day on March 29 against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. “I did all the rehab, all that stuff. I began a throwing program in January, so I will be a little delayed with just the throwing. But the back feels good.”
“I’ve still got to throw to bases, get to a certain distance. I’ve only thrown 100 feet. Then we’ll mix in the games. I’ve tried to strengthen everything around it. Everything is all right,” he said.
NOTES: LHP Alex Wood worked through a scheduled bullpen Monday. A sprained right ankle, sustained Thursday, had limited him. X-rays were negative. . Pitching prospect Walker Buehler, a 23-year-old right-hander, threw his first bullpen this spring Monday. Buehler, the No. 24 pick in the 2015 draft, had been feeling discomfort in his back. He’s considered a potential starter. After working 88 2/3 innings in the minors last season, he joined the Dodgers on Sept 7. He appeared in eight games, allowing eight runs in 9 1/3 innings with 12 strikeouts and eight walks. . Dodgers great Maury Wills arrived in camp Monday. Wills, 85, is the club’s bunting coach.