Trea Turner thanks Phillies fans for support on billboards

PHILADELPHIA -- Trea Turner used a simple message to express his appreciation for the way Phillies fans have stuck with him during a rough first season in town: "Thank You, Philly."

The message was splashed on 12 digital billboards in the greater Philadelphia area after a series when Philly fans -- often billed as some of the worst in sports -- gave Turner standing ovations in at-bats throughout the weekend. The idea to cheer Turner was hatched on social media, and the slumping shortstop responded -- he blasted a three-run homer in a win Saturday against the Royals.

Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million deal with the National League champions in the offseason, but he is batting just .238 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs. He was even dropped to eighth in the batting order.

In three games over the weekend against Kansas City, Turner went 4-for-12 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs.

Turner was scheduled to bat seventh Monday in the opener of a four-game set against Washington before the game was rained out. The teams will play a single-admission doubleheader on Tuesday.

"I think it was nice to get the message out there and say thank you," Turner said Monday in the Phillies clubhouse. "I said it in interviews and whatnot, but I think it was just another nice gesture."

The Phillies already rented the billboards and use them for a variety of reasons, usually to promote upcoming home games. Turner pitched in and made an undisclosed financial contribution in support of the message.

Turner broke into the majors with Washington in 2015. The two-time All-Star hit .300 with 192 steals in six-plus seasons with the Nationals, winning the World Series in 2019.

The 30-year-old said he had never before made such a grand gesture to thank fans for their support.

"I feel like when you're younger, you don't think about things like that," Turner said. "You're just kind of living the dream or trying to play baseball and whatnot. As you get older, you start to see what's important. I'd never done anything to that magnitude."

The Phillies entered Monday tied with San Francisco for the first NL wild card. The Phillies are 36-19 over their 55 games since June 3, and their .655 winning percentage over that same span is second in MLB behind only Atlanta's (37-15, .712).