Mark Teixeira tests calf by running in outfield, hopes to return this weekend

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The Yankees have struggled to put runs on the board recently and have the Orioles hot on their tail going into a four-game series tonight in Baltimore, but the Bombers’ offense could be back to full strength soon.

According to Chad Jennings of the Journal News, Mark Teixeira tested his strained left calf by running in the outfield this afternoon at Camden Yards. He admitted that his calf is still a “little tight,” but plans to ramp up the intensity and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to action tomorrow night. Yankees manager Joe Girardi seems to think later this weekend is more realistic.

“I’m not anticipating it (tomorrow), but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and watch him go through what he needs to go through and make a decision,” Joe Girardi said. “You have to make sure that when he gets out there he’s ready to play and it’s not like a 50-50 chance that it’s going to happen the first night back. You can’t take that chance. We’ve got to feel pretty good that he’s going to be able to remain healthy.”

When Teixeira suffered the injury last Monday, it was originally estimated that he would miss one to two weeks, so he’s still roughly on schedule. He would likely take an extra day or two if the Yankees still had a nice cushion, but there’s obviously an increased sense of urgency right now.

Teixeira, 32, is hitting .255/.335/.478 with 23 home runs, 81 RBI and an .813 OPS in 119 games played this season.

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.