After being hit in the face by a pitch in Monday’s Grapefruit League game against the Tigers, Red Sox infielder Justin Turner took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to provide an update on how he was doing.
“Thanks to everyone for all the messages and prayers!” Turner tweeted. “I’m feeling very fortunate to come out of yesterday with no breaks & all my chiclets in tact. The [Red Sox] medical staff and [Lee Health] have been absolutely amazing & I’m going to be back out on the field as soon as possible!”
In the first inning of Monday’s contest at JetBlue Park, Turner took the first pitch he saw from Tigers right-hander Matt Manning — a fastball — off the left side of his face. The 38-year-old immediately fell to the ground and was quickly tended to by Red Sox manager Alex Cora and head trainer Brandon Henry.
Though he was bleeding heavily, Turner was able to get back on his feet under his own power and walked off the field while Henry held a towel to his face. He was then transported via ambulance to a Fort Myers-area hospital, where he received 16 stitches, according to his wife, Kourtney Turner. Kourtney also relayed on Twitter that her husband had a lot of swelling, but he had no fractures and his scans came back clean.
Turner was discharged from the hospital on Monday night and is back at home resting. When speaking with reporters (including The Eagle-Tribune’s Mac Cerullo) on Tuesday afternoon, Cora confirmed that there were no fractures and revealed that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom visited Turner earlier in the morning.
“We were lucky,” Cora said. “He’s in good spirits, actually Chaim visited him this morning. Obviously the big laceration and the stitches and all that, but besides that … like I said, we’re lucky.”
Cora added that Manning’s pitch hit Turner right next to his nose and right under his left eye. He could not provide a specific timetable for when Turner could return to action, but it sounds like the worst-case scenario has been avoided.
Turner, a veteran of 14 major-league seasons, joined the Red Sox as a free agent in January after a decorated tenure with the Dodgers. The two-time All-Star signed a one-year deal with Boston that guarantees him $15 million and includes a player option for 2024.
With J.D. Martinez leaving the Red Sox for the Dodgers in free agency earlier this winter, Turner is expected to take over as Boston’s primary designated hitter in 2023. As a right-handed hitter, Turner could also complement Triston Casas and Rafael Devers — who both hit from the left side of the plate — and first and third base, respectively.
Since Opening Day (March 30 against the Orioles) is just over three weeks away, Turner’s status will be something worth monitoring as spring training continues.
(Picture of Justin Turner: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)