COVID protocols could cost Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull chance to start Opening Day

Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. – One minute you are in the conversation to be the club’s opening day starter and the next you are quarantined and can’t get into the building.

Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Friday morning that right-handed starter Spencer Turnbull was being kept away from the Tiger Town facilities “for a few days” in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.

“It was through no wrong-doing on his part,” Hinch said. “He didn’t break protocol. He just can’t come to the complex for a few days.”

Hinch and the Tigers are restricted in what they can say publicly but, most likely, it was a contact tracing issue that got Turnbull, just as it did with shortstop Zack Short earlier in camp. Short was away from the facility for five days.

“Anytime guys aren’t in camp and are going to miss a little bit of time, it’s concerning,” Hinch said. “But it’s the reality of how we’re trying to have a safe spring training and keep our guys in camp healthy when others have to be away.”

Turnbull, who has thrown nine innings in three starts this spring, will miss at least one start. Hinch didn’t speculate if he’d get one or two more starts before camp breaks. There are 12 spring games left.

“We’re just not sure yet,” he said. “He’s not going to be here for his workouts, he’s not doing his pens and he’s not pitching in our rotation right now. We’re going to have to navigate that on a day-to-day basis.”

Hinch hasn’t addressed the opening day starter, but both Turnbull and Matthew Boyd were on turn to make the April 1 start against the Indians. This break in action probably takes Turnbull out of that mix.

Twitter: @cmccosky

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