WASHINGTON - Trea Turner is back.
Before the injury, which occurred on April 2 when he squared to bunt and was hit by a 92 mph fastball from Philadelphia Phillies starter Zach Eflin, Turner had gotten off to a quick start. Over the first three games of the season, the 25-year old speedster went 5 for 13 with a double, two home runs and four stolen bases. Both homers came in the same game, a 6-5 win over the New York Mets that ended with Turner hitting a walk-off bomb against reliever Justin Wilson.
With Turner batting first, typical leadoff hitter Adam Eaton will not start Friday, with rookie center fielder Victor Robles sliding over to right in place of Eaton. Defensive standout Michael Taylor will get a rare start in center.
The Nationals, who have been the most disappointing team in the majors this year, have struggled without Turner. In 39 games since he was placed on the injured list, Washington went 17-22.
Entering play on Friday, Nats shortstops had combined to post a .627 OPS that was fifth lowest in the majors. Defensively, they had accounted for minus-29 runs saved, second worst in the National League according to FanGraphs.
A former first-round pick, Turner finished second in the balloting for 2016 Rookie of the Year. The following season he missed two months with a fractured wrist. Last year, he led the NL in steals and was one of seven big leaguers to play in all 162 regular season games.
Turner started a brief minor-league rehab assignment earlier this week. In two games with Class A Potomac, he went 1 for 8 with four strikeouts and a walk, and committed one error in the field.