Rookie infielder Justin Turner tacked his own footnote onto a historic night at Yankee Stadium on Friday, when he got the first hit of his big-league career late in the game. Derek Jeter had broken New York’s record for hits earlier, and Turner’s first was more of an afterthought.
Still, despite the forgotten nature of his hit, Turner was glad to have done it.
“I’m still never going to forget it for the rest of my life. Nobody can ever take it away from me,” he said. “It’s always good to get the first one out of the way. You don’t have to worry about it.”
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said that Turner — who was acquired from Cincinatti last winter as part of the Ramon Hernandez trade — will mostly play second in the Majors. Trembley also said that it was good to see Turner get a hit in a hostile atmosphere.
“It’s something he’ll remember, getting it at Yankee Stadium on a night like that,” he said. “I don’t know which day they’re going to put it on — the 11th or the 12th — because it was after midnight. …I was glad we could put him in there and glad we could get it out of the way.”
— Spencer Fordin
Yet another voice has joined the blogosphere, and this is one that may be able to cut through pesky journalistic standards to bring you some inside dope. Infielder Justin Turner, who’s playing at Triple-A Norfolk, has agreed to do a blog detailing his first season in the Orioles’ organization. You can read all about, and submit some questions to him as well.
The Orioles trimmed their spring roster to 39 players Wednesday by reassigning five players to the Minor League in Sarasota and optioning three others to Triple-A Norfolk.
Injured veterans Brad Hennessey and John Parrish headlined the group heading to Sarasota, and they were joined by infielders Justin Turner and Donnie Murphy and outfielder Justin Christian. Kam Mickolio, Chris Waters and Bob McCrory were sent out to Norfolk.
Justin Turner swatted two home runs on Saturday, impressing the club’s decision-makers with his surprising power. Turner, who was acquired in the offseason trade for Ramon Hernandez, will likely start the season at Triple-A Norfolk.
But if he hits there, he may cement himself a future as a big-league utilityman. Turner is currently behind Ryan Freel and Ty Wigginton on that part of the depth chart, but he’s young and likely has his best baseball still in front of him.
“I’m just going out there trying to play hard and make a good first impression on them. Hopefully, it sticks,” he said. “Maybe they’ll remember somewhere down the road this year.”
Baltimore had eight homers in the first 15 spring games before exploding for six Saturday. Felix Pie, Nick Markakis, Nolan Reimold and Donnie Murphy also went deep.
The Orioles have received kudos for increasing their depth at the big-league level in recent weeks, but one thing that has gone virtually unnoticed is the maturation of some of their younger infielders. Blake Davis and Justin Turner have both earned accolades for their improvement this spring and will stand as potential reinforcements if anyone gets injured.
“Every player that’s in camp here should have the mindset that they’re here to compete for one of the 25 jobs,” said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. “You have to send a message and you have to have people notice you. And they’re either going to notice you in a positive or a negative way. I would dare say, you guys that follow the club, the inventory is better.”
Baltimore signed Ty Wigginton and Ryan Freel to flesh out its bench, relegating Scott Moore to the challenge of trying to distinguish himself. And Moore has hit well, finding himself in a grouping with Turner, Davis and several other youngsters trying to separate themselves.
“There are some players here in camp,” Trembley said. “I’m not talking about stars. I’m not talking about impact type players, but there are better overall baseball players in camp. I don’t want to put the whammy on them, but look at the way the infielders have played.
“If Blake Davis didn’t have No. 82 on his back, you’d think he’s a big-leaguer. Honest to God. …And for me, he is a Major League player. I think these guys deserve a lot of credit.”