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Phillies Notebook: Trea Turner proves he didn’t need a minor tuneup before returning

PHILADELPHIA — To each his own, apparently, when it comes to veteran players designated for rehabilitation assignments. For Trea Turner, designated by his manager Rob Thomson Monday as “one of the best players in baseball,” a little 38-game layoff due to a strained hamstring wasn’t going to alter his perspective on what’s best for his baseball health.

The Phillies never sent Turner away, the way many players would go after missing six weeks of action — on to a minor league rehab assignment or two. The decision to go or not to go, was Turner’s, and he didn’t have any qualms about making it.

Asked if he’d pondered a rehab assignment before returning to the Phillies’ starting lineup Monday night against San Diego, Turner said, “Yeah, I don’t want to do one.

“I’ve done them once or twice in my career and I never felt like it really, truly helped me,” Turner added. “And I also feel like at this point in my career, I’ve learned a lot preparation wise. I feel really good and technology’s advanced so much since — maybe 2018 or ’19 was my last one — but I just feel really good with where I’m at.”

For his first at bats since injuring his hammy while running the bases in a May 3 game against the San Francisco Giants, Turner didn’t seem far off. He singled up the middle in his third trip to the plate in the fifth inning, hit a bloop single to right in the sixth and ended his night with a deep flyout to right, going 2-for-5 with a run scored.

In the field, he helped turn three double plays, including one to end a 9-2 Phillies win. And he fielded all manners of routine post-injury questions without hesitation.

“I felt like I ran the bases really well in the last week, so I guess we’re ready to go,” said Turner, addressing what had been the last phases of his rehab. He indicated the first few weeks were the toughest, but an aggressive medical and rehab team “was trying to get me to where I feel really good about playing. It took a little longer than I wanted, but we’re here.”

Turner had a fine April. He was hitting .343 with two homers and nine RBIs when he went down. He helped the Phils get out of the gate fast, and despite his injury they only seemed to get better during May and early June.

“It’s not fun,” he said of being hurt. “I want to be out there. You get jealous when they’re winning and playing well. It’s like, ‘I want to be a part of that.’ And you’re a little frustrated when you can’t help out and they lose. That’s why I don’t like being hurt.”

Although the Phillies had just lost their fourth straight road series, taking only one of three in Baltimore, Turner pointed out injuries to him and J.T. Realmuto had left them shorthanded, and a trip for two games overseas in Great Britain put an extra stress on the club.

“I think we knew that London was going to be a little bit of a grind,” Turner said. “I thought we played pretty well over there for the most part, but we probably felt it a little bit in those two series (after returning), and we played two pretty good teams (Boston and Baltimore). So, to get back home and kind of reset, and hopefully get back on a good schedule again and playing the way we were playing earlier in the year, I think that’s going to be big.”

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With Turner’s return, Edmundo Sosa, who made a name for himself around the league with the way he handled shortstop in Turner’s stead, goes back to a utility role. That could include some time in the outfield, but either way, Thomson and the Phillies are determined to make better (or, more) use of Sosa’s talents.

Turner would agree with that plan.

“I think he should get more credit,” he said of Sosa. “I think he should get some All-Star votes. The defense was obviously really good. I don’t know if he even made an error, he was really good and solid there, and his at bats were great, too. I feel like early on every hit he had, he was driving in a run in the clutch. I think he did an unbelievable job and obviously he’s going to be big for us going forward.

“I tip my cap. I was hoping he’d get a little more recognition than he did.”

• • •

NOTES >> After pre-game TV chatter in the clubhouse about Thomson’s ejection in Baltimore Sunday being surprising, considering the perception of him as a laid back manager, Thomson was told that he’d surprised some in getting thumbed. “Yeah?” Thomson said. “Ask my family.” He added he can get a little fired up on occasion, “depending on the situation.” … Early voting for the All-Star teams has apparently drawn a heavy load from Phillies fans. Not only is Bryce Harper leading the National League upon Monday’s announcement of totals with 1,110,562 fan votes, he led the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman by some 400,000 for first basemen. And over on the other corner, developing star Alec Bohm had a huge early lead on San Diego’s Manny Machado, by some 800,000 votes. “I’m really proud of Alec for how far he’s come in the last couple of years,” Thomson said. “He’s matured physically, mentally and emotionally, and he deserves to be where he’s at.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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