JUNE 6: Follow-up testing on Turnbull confirmed the issue is indeed muscular, not structural, in nature. Turnbull has a bit of forearm inflammation, Hinch said (via Evan Woodbery of MLive.com), but the team is “very happy with the initial diagnosis.”
JUNE 5: The Tigers announced that right-hander Spencer Turnbull has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to a right forearm strain. Righty Bryan Garcia has been called up from Triple-A Toledo to take Turnbull’s spot on the active roster.
The move isn’t a surprise, after Turnbull left last night’s start after four innings. Though he was still pitching well (one ER on two hits and no walks, with four strikeouts), Turnbull was experiencing forearm tightness and the Tigers opted to pull him from the game.
More will be known about Turnbull’s injury in due time, but manager A.J. Hinch told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jason Beck) that “the initial diagnosis is positive,” since Turnbull’s problem seems to be muscular rather than structural. Another good sign was that Turnbull didn’t appear to be in severe pain, as Hinch said that the righty “fought to stay in the game.”
The IL placement interrupts that has already been a memorable season for Turnbull, who authored a no-hitter back on May 18 and has looked solid over an even 50 innings pitched in 2021. Turnbull has a 2.88 ERA/3.71 SIERA, with a big 57.2% grounder rate, six percent walk rate, and some strong soft-contact numbers that have allowed him to succeed despite not missing many bats (21.9% strikeout rate).
Jose Urena could serve as a ready-made replacement for Turnbull, as Urena is scheduled to start Sunday in his own return from the injured list. Urena is back after only a minimum 10 days after a forearm strain of his own, so his situation would represent the best-case scenario for Turnbull if his forearm problem is also relatively minor. Since Michael Fulmer isn’t likely to be shifted out of relief work and Julio Teheran isn’t ready to return from the 60-day IL, the Tigers could turn to the opener strategy to fill the open spot in the rotation, or perhaps turn to Tyler Alexander or a minor league call-up.