Guillen 'almost died' last year due to blood clots

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guillen swinging.JPGJose Guillen is off to an alarming start this year, with a .361/.410/.861 batting line and five home runs through 36 at-bats.  But life wasn’t always so sweet. 

The Royals outfielder told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he “almost died” last year due to blood clots in both of his legs:

“I had to stay in St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City for 20 days (in
the offseason) just lying in bed,” said Guillen.  “My legs were so big, so swollen
up. They were purple. I couldn’t even walk on them. I couldn’t feel my
legs. … I went to the hospital, and I was crying because I couldn’t
feel my leg. I was thinking, ‘What’s going on here?'”

Former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas died from a similar blood clot issue 10 years ago after being paralyzed in a car crash and Guillen’s Kansas City-based doctors were worried for a bit that Jose might meet the same fate.  Luckily, he made it through the trying process and is making a big splash in 2010 — a contract year for the 33-year-old.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.