Peavy has sore rotator cuff, might miss start of season

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Troubling news here for the White Sox.

According to Mark D. Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, right-hander Jake Peavy has been diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinitis and might not be able to make his scheduled Cactus League start Thursday against the Cubs.

If he’s unable to make that outing, the White Sox will probably also scratch him from his first scheduled start of the regular season, April 6 in Kansas City.

Peavy was a bit behind the other Chicago pitchers when spring training began because he was still in recovery mode from July surgery to repair a detached latissimus dorsi muscle. He told reporters Sunday that his current rotator cuff issues have nothing to do with that procedure, but he also admitted that the discomfort has been with him since his March 6 debut.

Here’s a quote from Peavy gathered Sunday afternoon by Scott Merkin of MLB.com:

“I’m not going to sit here and say it’s a setback because we don’t know what it is yet,” said Peavy, “but certainly things have slowed down.”

If Peavy isn’t ready when camp breaks, look for 28-year-old Philip Humber to draw a few early season starts.

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.