Huston Street set to begin rehab assignment on Thursday

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Huston Street1.jpgHuston Street will kick off a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Tulsa on Thursday, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

It’s been a long time coming for Street, who has been sidelined since the beginning of spring training due to right shoulder stiffness. He’s scheduled to throw one inning on Thursday and Saturday before ramping it up to two innings next Tuesday. From there, he’s penciled in to make back-to-back appearances with Triple-A Colorado Springs next Friday and Saturday before being reevaluated. Barring any setbacks, he could return to the Rockies within two weeks.

“My arm feels better than at anytime in spring. In hindsight, just
playing catch now compared to then isn’t even comparable,” Street said.
“I am not going to count my chickens until they hatch. But I am looking
forward to getting back here soon.”

Franklin Morales was the early choice for save opportunities in Street’s absence, but his inability to throw strikes (eight walks over 11 1/3 innings) has thrust Manny Corpas back into the role. Needless to say, Rockies manager Jim Tracy will be happy to have Street back. Street posted a 3.06 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over 64 appearances in his first season with the Rockies last season, notching 35 saves in 37 chances.
 

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.