Trea Turner on slow start with Phillies: 'I've sucked'

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Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Trea Turner is starting to hear boos from Philadelphia fans frustrated with his slow start for the Phillies, and the star shortstop doesn't blame them.

"I'm honest with myself, I've sucked," Turner said Monday after the struggling Phillies lost to the Diamondbacks.

Turner is less than two months into an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Phillies, who signed the two-time All-Star to much fanfare last December after their improbable run to the 2022 World Series.

But the early returns have been underwhelming for Turner, who is batting .256 with four home runs, 11 RBIs and a .693 OPS in 46 games. The former National League batting champion also has 56 strikeouts in 208 plate appearances for a 26.9% strikeout rate -- well above his career rate of 18.5%.

Turner's struggles have been even more pronounced of late, as he has batted just .211 with 38 strikeouts in 120 plate appearances over his past 27 games. Fans' frustration with Turner started to boil over Sunday when he was booed during a home win vs. the Cubs, and those boos continued Monday as the Phillies lost for the sixth time in their past eight games to fall to 22-25.

Despite what he admits is "probably" the worst slump of his career, Turner said he is trying to remain positive.

"Every at-bat, every play, every game is another day to try to do better and try to be the player that I know I am," he said. "If you harp on yesterday or you harp on the last at-bat, it's just going to snowball on you, you're not going to be able to turn it around.

"So I'm honest with myself. I tell myself straight, and I don't lie to myself. I think I'm a positive guy. I think I can always do better and can always be better. That's the attitude I have, but at the same time, I know when I don't do something right."

Turner, 29, is not the only culprit when it comes to the Phillies' offensive struggles. The defending NL champions enter Tuesday tied for 10th in the league in runs (201), and other veteran stars, includingKyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto, also have gotten off to slow starts at the plate.

Turner, a career .299 hitter, said he needs to make better decisions in terms of pitch recognition and "decision-making," but Phillies manager Rob Thomson said he was encouraged by some of Turner's recent at-bats, saying, "It looks like he's coming."

"My first three at-bats [Sunday] and [Monday] were kind of brutal for the most part," he said. "It's just that consistency. If I think I can do that for four or five at-bats in a day, then for a week and a month, and then I'll feel a little bit better and more satisfied. But you just have to battle. ... I feel like it's all decision-making. The swing's felt pretty good now for two, three weeks. But the decision-making is pretty hit-or-miss."

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