March 25th, 2012

Turner battling tendonitis in shoulder

The Detroit Tigers organization had a little reason to be concerned last week, when their number one prospect starting pitcher Jacob Turner was diagnosed with tendonitis in his throwing shoulder. What was originally though to be ‘dead arm’ syndrom, the Tigers had him checked out. Turner seems to be progressing well, though. On Wednsday he threw from 150 feet and felt no restrictions from the tendonitis. The good news, too, is that he felt no pain in throwing two days of long toss.

“I’m still taking it day-to-day to see how it feels”, he stated. “But as long as there are no setbacks, I’ll keep pushing forward.”

The 20 yr-old hurler also threw a 30-pitch bullpen session without pain on Friday according to Tigers’ pitching coach Jeff Jones. He’s expected to throw another similar session today. Even though he was a long shot to earn Detroit’s fifth spot in the rotation, this could be a blessing in disguise in my opinion. It really avoids the Tigers trying to push him along to quickly like they did with Rick Porcello. Turner will now get a chance to work on his mechanics in the minors, and will most likely open the season with Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. He was just with the Whitecaps back in 2010, where he went 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA and 51 strikeouts.

UPDATE: It looks like Turner is now in good health, and will be starting in the minors. After being out of action for two weeks, he’s been throwing well in his bullpen sessions. I think that’s the best, and trying to hurry him along won’t do him any favors. He’ll probably be the ‘ace’ of the Triple-A staff. Here’s what Tigers manager Jim Leyland had to say about him being sent to minor league camp:

“He’s going to be a starting pitcher in Toledo. He’s 100 percent healty. Why pitch him one inning of relief over here when he cann go over there and try to build him up, maybe pitch him two or three innings the first time out?  He needs to go pitch. He’s a young pitcher with a huge, huge ceiling. Me seeing him in one more inning of spring training right now doesn’t mean anything.”

Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

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