Less than a week after frighteningly being hit in the face by a pitch, Justin Turner has rejoined the Red Sox at the Fenway South Complex in Fort Myers.
Turner needed 16 stitches after taking a fastball from Tigers starter Matt Manning off the left side of his face in the first inning of Monday’s Grapefruit League game against the Tigers at JetBlue Park.
Though it left him bloodied and required a trip to the hospital, Turner came away with no facial fractures and all his scans came back clean. After briefly recuperating at home, the 38-year-old infielder/designated hitter was back in Boston’s clubhouse on Wednesday and was doing cardio workouts on Thursday.
“He walked on the treadmill yesterday and felt good,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) on Friday. “Same deal today. Just add a little bit more and take it day-by-day.”
Turner, who signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in January that comes with $15 million in guaranteed money and a player option for 2024, will not be cleared to resume baseball activities until his stiches are removed. That could happen as soon as next week, according to Cora.
Once he does get the stitches removed, the Red Sox will need to make sure Turner is in a good spot not just physically, but mentally as well. Per The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams, Turner will get at-bats in live batting practice and in minor-league games on the backfields in an effort to get back up to speed.
So far this spring, Turner has appeared in six Grapefruit League games for Boston. The right-handed hitter has gone 3-for-12 (.250) with one RBI, four runs scored, one walk, and one strikeout in that stretch.
Time will be of the essence once Turner is cleared to take the field again, but the Red Sox are confident that their projected primary designated hitter will be ready for Opening Day against the Orioles on March 30.
“We’ve got plenty of time,” said Cora. “Hopefully he will be with us right away [at the start of the season]. We’ll shoot for that. He’s in good spirits. He’s doing better.”
(Picture of Justin Turner: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)