Red Sox expect Justin Turner back for Opening Day after pitch to head

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

"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 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 honored as NL Championship Series MVP in 2017.