LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the team will activate third baseman Justin Turner either Thursday or Friday, meaning the team's No. 3 hitter will have missed only 14 or 15 games on the disabled list, a good outcome given the medical condition that that put him there.
The team had thus far announced only that Turner had a skin infection on his right leg. Turner revealed Wednesday that he was diagnosed with a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, a typically painful and, sometimes serious illness.
The infection began as an ingrown hair and became inflamed after Turner scratched it, he said.
"It was scary. It's not a joking matter,"Turner said. "I didn't think it was that bad until I came in after the off-day and [trainer] Stan [Conte] told me I had to get to the emergency room. A couple days later, I was told it was MRSA. That's a pretty scary situation and they got me on all kinds of medicine to get rid of it.”
Doctors lanced the area of the infection and packed it with gauze, which they left in a few days before removing it.
"That was brutal,"Turner said.
The MRSA bacteria typically remain confined to the skin, but they can also burrow deep into the body and cause life-threatening infections in bones, joints, the bloodstream, heart valves or lungs, according to the Mayo Clinic Web site.
"Obviously, if it spreads over your whole body or gets into my organs or anything, that's a pretty serious situation,"Turner said. "The good news is I got in right away and got it taken care of.”
Once they cleared him to begin his workouts, they warned him against getting sweat in the infected area. That meant that Turner often had to take frequent rests between batting-practice sessions to avoid sweating. He also had to take frequent breaks so that a trainer could re-dress his wound.
"It turned a workout that probably would have taken an hour to three-and-a-half hours,"Turner said.
Turner got back into baseball shape in Arizona and did not require a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues. He said he got more than 20 at-bats against live pitching at the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch facility, where recently drafted players and injured minor-leaguers were working out.
Turner said doctors told him the wound had completely closed just Wednesday, so the Dodgers likely will wait two more days to activate him. He was with the team during batting practice and did extra conditioning beforehand.