WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — His teammates had already completed their daily stretching routine and fielding drills when Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner skipped his way onto Field 3 at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Wednesday morning, during the live batting practice portion of the day’s itinerary.
“This is my warmup,” the 23-year-old Turner said.
Turner was late for the Nationals’ workout for good reason: The reigning NL rookie of the year runner-up was summoned for jury duty. Nationals Manager Dusty Baker, who is entering his 22nd season as a skipper, said he had never had a player absent for that reason.
“He told me he was going to jury duty,” Baker said. “And then he got there and they said they didn’t need him. When they call, you don’t have much choice. He seemed pretty happy about not doing it.”
The Nationals’ new shortstop didn’t have much choice but to perform his civic duty because he is a resident of Palm Beach County. Turner was born in nearby Boynton Beach and went to high school in Lake Worth, a town just south of West Palm Beach.
“Have you ever heard of a guy that had to do jury duty?” Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth later asked first base coach Davey Lopes.
The Nationals will interrupt the monotony of spring training workouts with their first intrasquad game on Thursday. Stephen Strasburg and Tanner Roark are slated to start, according to a bulletin in the clubhouse.
Washington opens its Grapefruit League schedule Saturday against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Sunday against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers and Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter before opening The Ballpark at the Palm Beaches against their fellow tenants, the Houston Astros.