Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner has finally resurfaced for the first time since the World Series two weeks ago, when he learned he had coronavirus and was removed from the deciding Game 6, only to return to the field to celebrate the title win with teammates.
In the Daily Mail’s exclusive photographs, the 35-year-old Turner is seen walking his two dogs around Los Angeles while wearing a white t-shirt, sweatpants, and, most importantly, a mask.
It’s not known if Turner is still infected, although he was asked to quarantine for two weeks – a length of time that ended Tuesday.
Turner, who will not be punished by Major League Baseball, released his first statement on Friday, admitting that he should not have returned to the field in Texas to celebrate with teammates or be photographed alongside his wife, actress Kourtney Pogue.
‘In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife,’ Turner said in the statement. ‘I sincerely apologize to everyone on the field for failing to appreciate the risks of returning to the field. I have spoken with almost every teammate, coach, and staff member, and my intentions were never to make anyone uncomfortable or put anyone at further risk.’
In the Daily Mail’s exclusive photographs, the 35-year-old Turner is seen walking his two dogs around Los Angeles while wearing a white t-shirt, sweatpants, and most importantly, a mask
Turner is now a free agent after winning a World Series title with the Dodgers earlier this month
Turner, who will not be punished by Major League Baseball, released his first statement Friday in which he admitted he should not have returned to the field in Texas to celebrate with teammates or be photographed alongside his wife, actress Kourtney Pogue (far left). ‘In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife,’ Turner said in the statement. ‘I sincerely apologize to everyone on the field for failing to appreciate the risks of returning to the field. I have spoken with almost every teammate, coach, and staff member, and my intentions were never to make anyone uncomfortable or put anyone at further risk.’ (Right) celebrates on field with the Commissioner’s Trophy
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (left), a cancer survivor, pictured alongside COVID-infected Justin Turner on October 27. Cancer survivors such as Roberts are often considered to be at higher risk for COVID, although he hasn’t tested positive
The Los Angeles Dodgers organization has five people that have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to figures from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
County health officials say one family member from the organization also has tested positive. The identities of those testing positive have not been released and the team has not commented publicly.
The Dodgers won the World Series on October 27. It’s not clear if the number of positive tests includes Turner.
Turner learned last week that he will not be disciplined by Major League Baseball for returning to the field.
The third baseman was removed after seven innings of Game 6 against Tampa Bay on October 27 after MLB informed the Dodgers of the test result, which was received during the sixth inning.
He returned to the field after Los Angeles won 3-1 to earn the title, took off his mask and posed for a photograph with teammates.
Turner (center, with the red beard) celebrates the Dodgers’ 2020 World Series win with teammates in Arlington, Texas
Turner will not be punished by Major League Baseball, but he did apologize in a statement released on Friday
‘Our investigation revealed additional relevant information that, while not exonerating Mr. Turner from responsibility for his conduct, helps put into context why he chose to leave the isolation room and return to the field,’ baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday.
‘First, Mr. Turner’s teammates actively encouraged him to leave the isolation room and return to the field for a photograph. Many teammates felt they had already been exposed to Mr. Turner and were prepared to tolerate the additional risk.
‘Second, Mr. Turner believes that he received permission from at least one Dodgers employee to return to the field to participate in a photograph. Although Mr. Turner’s belief may have been the product of a miscommunication, at least two Dodgers employees said nothing to Mr. Turner as he made his way to the field, which they admitted may have created the impression that his conduct was acceptable.
‘Third, during the somewhat chaotic situation on the field, Mr. Turner was incorrectly told by an unidentified person that other players had tested positive, creating the impression in Mr. Turner’s mind that he was being singled out for isolation.
‘Finally, Major League Baseball could have handled the situation more effectively. For example, in retrospect, a security person should have been assigned to monitor Mr. Turner when he was asked to isolate, and Mr. Turner should have been transported from the stadium to the hotel more promptly.’
Manfred said he spoke with Turner and ‘I am closing this matter by applauding Justin for accepting responsibility, apologizing and making a commitment to set a positive example going forward.’
Turner said he watched the final two innings with his wife Kourtney in a doctor’s office in the clubhouse and he assumed there was no objection by Dodgers officials to his returning to the field. He also said that when he returned to the field, he thought few people would be there and his plan was to take a quick photo with his wife.
‘However, what was intended to be a photo capturing the two of us turned into several greetings and photos where I briefly and unwisely removed my mask,’ Turner said in a statement.
Turner, who turns 36 on November 23, became a free agent after completing a $64 million, four-year contract. This was the seventh season with the Dodgers, who won their first title since 1988, and the red-haired, bearded third baseman was a key component.
‘No player was more instrumental in allowing the Dodgers to overcome the adversity created by the pandemic than Justin Turner, as he set an example for his teammates and advocated for enhanced safety measures that went above and beyond league requirements,’ Dodgers president Stan Kasten said in a statement. ‘Justin´s leadership played a large part in helping the Dodgers safely complete the entire season.’
Turner became MLB’s first player to test positive in 59 days. The Dodgers spent the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series at the Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas as part of a postseason bubble environment, and MLB has not explained the factors surrounding the positive test.
‘While the events following the conclusion of the World Series were unfortunate, there is no question about who Justin Turner is, and what he means to his teammates, the Dodger organization and the City of Los Angeles,’ Kasten said.
Manfred said MLB is making its COVID-19 testing laboratory available during the offseason for underserved areas in communities where major league teams are based.