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Red Sox expect third baseman Justin Turner back by Opening Day

Mar 2, 2023; Fort Myers, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Justin Turner (2) singles during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at JetBlue Park at Fenway South. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After a frightening scene when Boston’s Justin Turner was hit in the face by a pitch during a spring training game last week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora expects his new third baseman back before Opening Day.

“Just add a little more (recovery time) and take it day by day,” Cora told reporters Sunday. “We got plenty of time. The hope is for him to be with us right away and we’ll shoot for that. He’s in good spirits. We were texting (Thursday) night and he’s feeling better. … So far, so good.”

Turner, 38, spoke about the incident for the first time Sunday after getting 16 stitches removed from his mouth. He was hit by a fastball from the Detroit Tigers’ Matt Manning and was taken to a local hospital after walking off the field with a towel to his mouth because of excessive bleeding.

“I got pretty lucky, all things considered,” Turner said. “Every day, I’ve been getting a little bit better. I actually got the last of the stitches removed today and starting to do some baseball activities, so that’s encouraging.”

Turner signed a free-agent contract with the Red Sox this past offseason after spending nine seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and helping the club to win the World Series in 2020.

In 14 major league seasons with the Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets, Turner has batted .289 with an .832 OPS, 164 home runs and 663 RBIs. He was named to the National League All-Star team in 2017 and 2021, while also being named National League Championship Series MVP in 2017.

–Field Level Media

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