LOS ANGELES – The Roberto Clemente Award, by definition, is not awarded for lifetime achievement. For Justin Turner, who was chosen Thursday as the Dodgers’ nominee for the annual award, the honor would be a deserved reward for years of service.
Turner joined the Dodgers in 2014. Two years later, he registered his eponymous charity as a tax-free non-profit. With the help of his wife, Kourtney, and partner Clint Carlton, Turner has used the foundation to pump hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the community through grants and a whirlwind of service activities.
The new coronavirus pandemic halted the baseball season from mid-March to the end of June. Coincidentally, the need in the community was high. The Turners used that time to select different restaurants and order thousands of meals for delivery at the Los Angeles Dream Center, which was feeding more than 12,000 people every day at the height of the pandemic.
“One of the best things about it was making phone calls with the (restaurant) owners,” said Turner. “You will immediately hear what it means to them: we could keep all our chefs in the kitchen, we could keep all our waitresses because of the order.”
The Turners volunteered at the Dream Center’s drive-through food distribution while the baseball season ended. They donated an estimated 900,000 meals over the course of 82 days, culminating in the Dream Center calling their food bank the Justin & Kourtney Turner Food Bank.
The Gymnasts also served weekly meals to the doctors, nurses and staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. They served as honorary hosts for CHLA’s Walk and Play LA event and helped raise important funds for the hospital. Last December, they hosted CHLA’s Winter Wonderland, a carnival for hundreds of patients.
The Turners also regularly visit patients at Cedars Sinai Hospital and UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and serve on the board of UCLA Health’s Operation Mend, which provides health and social support to wounded warriors and their families.
If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. Kourtney Turner does a lot of it, said Justin Turner.
“I couldn’t do this if she wasn’t there,” he said. “She spends hours and hours on her computer every day answering emails, arranging food deliveries, and reaching out to sponsors. We don’t have much help. She takes control of almost everything. She believes that if you want things to be done the way you want them to, then do it yourself – almost a mistake.
‘She always gets it done. There wouldn’t be a Justin Turner Foundation if it wasn’t for her. “
Clayton Kershaw was the last Dodger to win the Clemente Award in 2012.
Turner is not expected to take long to recover from his tense left hamstring. On Tuesday, he was placed on the injured list with retroactive effect to August 29. Manager Dave Roberts expects Turner to be activated Tuesday, September 8 as soon as he qualifies.
Pitcher Pedro Baez would throw a bullpen session on Thursday. Roberts said the right-handed live hitters could pick up as soon as Sunday and return somewhere next week. Baez has been on the injured list with a right groin injury since August 20.
Roberts said pitcher Joe Kelly, who has been out with an inflammation in his right shoulder since August 9, will also meet live hitters this weekend. Kelly has to serve a five-game suspension as soon as he is activated from the injured list.
Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urías start the weekend series against the Colorado Rockies in that order. … Antonio Senzatela and the German Marquez will start on Friday and Saturday for the Rockies respectively, and Sunday’s starter has yet to be announced. … If the Dodgers win two games out of three, they will tie the franchise record for most series without a series loss to start a season (14).