It’s safe to say that Boston Red Sox infielder Justin Turner was a bit of a late bloomer.

It took Turner around five seasons of Major League Baseball to truly put things together, cracking the 100-game plateau for just the second time in 2014. He was 29 back then and wouldn’t go on to make his first All-Star Game appearance for another three years.

It has been a gradual rise for Turner, who is having one of the best seasons of his career at 38 thanks to a consistent effort at improving his craft. The end of his playing days is much closer than the beginning, however, which is why 2023 has been a year for the two-time All-Star to pay it forward.

Turner has stayed in contact with Bobby Dalbec throughout the season, even though the 28-year-old has spent the majority of the year slugging the ball (30 home runs; .604 slugging percentage) in Triple-A Worcester — with a return to Boston pretty much out of sight.

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“I’ve talked to him frequently throughout the year just about different things,” Turner told Christopher Smith of MassLive. “He actually reached out to me the other day just talking about some vision stuff and what to look for as far as soft focus, fine focus.”

Dalbec’s biggest struggles at the big league level have come from a struggle to recognize pitches, swinging up in the zone and striking out a ton (35.2% career strikeout percentage) because of it. That much has been clear to anyone watching over his four years in Boston, which is why Turner gave him a trick to help recognize what pitch is being thrown and to make a faster decision on it.

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“ … What I told (Dalbec) is that I usually try to find a sign on the outfield wall, like left-center or whatever, and I try to set my eyes on that sign. And once I see the guy start his delivery, then I work my way back to the pitcher and as his arm’s about to come up, I try to fine-focus on the release point.”

That’s a great idea from Turner, but the ability to put that idea into practice is one that will be the difference in whether or not it actually helps Dalbec. If he can, perhaps a late surge could be in store for the Red Sox’s former everyday first baseman.

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Featured image via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images