LOS ANGELES — The rest of the Dodgers’ trade deadline order has been delivered.
Trea Turner cleared COVID protocols Friday and was activated by the Dodgers, joining pitcher Max Scherzer in making the move from the Washington Nationals in a trade for four prospects.
Turner was not in the starting lineup on Friday but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Turner will move into his new home on Saturday – second base.
“When Corey (Seager) gets a day off, then we’ll slide Trea over and then back over to second base,” Roberts said.
A shortstop for most of his career, Turner has played second base at the major-league level, starting six games there in 2015 then 25 as a rookie in 2016. He also played center field in 2016 but has been exclusively at shortstop over the past five seasons.
“I think that obviously, his choice is – he sees himself as a shortstop as he should,” Roberts said. “But understanding our roster, second base certainly makes sense to him and he feels and understands it gives us the best chance to win a championship.”
Roberts said he and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman both talked to Turner on Friday, welcoming him to the team and raising the awkward topic of moving from his preferred position.
“Obviously we view him as a premier shortstop, a superstar player in the game, but we value Corey at shortstop and Trea’s potential versatility with his athleticism allows for some different things,” Roberts said. “So his preference and thought was to stay on the dirt (and not move to the outfield) – which makes complete sense to me. So that was kind of that.”
Turner’s arrival will impact the rest of the everyday lineup. There will be little playing time on the infield for Chris Taylor now, but Roberts said he expects Taylor to play center field and left field. Taylor will also start taking ground balls at third base, where he could potentially spell Justin Turner occasionally.
There will also be less playing time for Cody Bellinger, mired in a season-long slump following shoulder surgery and two trips to the injured list with leg injuries.
Bellinger was not in the starting lineup Friday night, the second time in four games Roberts had benched him against a left-handed starting pitcher.
“Well, I think, right now, we have a lot of good players,” Roberts said. “In the near term, I see Cody playing against right-handers. We’ve got a lot of very good options to play against some lefties, as you can see tonight.
“Every single night there’s going to be a great player that’s not getting the start. That’s just kind of where we’re at. I’ll divvy up playing time with workload. But right now where we’re at on the schedule, we have to win baseball games. We’re four games back in the loss column and we’ve got to win. So every single night, with respect to workload and workload management, I need to put the best guys out there that I feel could win a ballgame.”
Right-hander Jimmy Nelson’s season is over. The reliever’s long medical history will add a new chapter – he will undergo Tommy John surgery and a flexor tendon repair.
The 31-year-old Nelson has already missed two seasons following injuries. He suffered a major shoulder injury in 2017 and missed all of 2018 while recovering from that and a related elbow injury.
Last season, he sat out following back surgery.
When healthy enough to pitch this season, Nelson was an effective option out of the bullpen, going 1-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 29 innings.
Moving Nelson to the 60-day IL cleared a 40-man roster spot for Turner. Also Friday, the Dodgers placed left-hander Victor Gonzalez on the IL with right knee inflammation, making room on the active roster for Turner.
This is Gonzalez’s second trip to the IL and he has struggled with his command when activated. Over his past 11 appearances, he has faced 46 batters in nine innings. Nearly half of them have reached base – 15 hits (including two home runs), six walks and one hit batter.
The Dodgers have not stopped collecting pitching even with the in-season trade deadline passed. Earlier this week, they signed former All-Star Cole Hamels to a major-league contract for the remainder of the season. And they have also signed former Angels right-hander Nick Tropeano to a minor-league contract.
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Tropeano, 30, was designated for assignment by the New York Mets last week and cleared waivers. Rather than accept a minor-league assignment, Tropeano elected to become a free agent.
Tropeano pitched just eight innings for the Giants and Mets this season, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out two.
Angels (RHP Jaime Barria, 2-0, 4.12 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Julio Urias, 13-3, 3.40 ERA), Saturday, 6:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, Bally Sports West, 570 AM