CHICAGO – Spencer Turnbull won a 12-pitch battle with White Sox slugger Yermin Mercedes, but lost his battle to beat his division rival Friday night after leaving the game early with right forearm tightness.
Turnbull, one of Detroit’s most effective starters for the past month – including his no-hitter two weeks ago in Seattle – had allowed only a Yasmani Grandal second-inning solo homer and Nick Madrigal third-inning infield single through four innings. The battle with Mercedes to end the fourth inning was Turnbull’s final batter of the night.
Turnbull’s four- and two-seam fastballs were averaging around 95 mph, slightly above his season average according to Statcast. He threw eight fastballs at 95-97 mph in that battle with Mercedes, including a 95.5 mph heater on his 56th and final pitch of the evening.
Still, Tigers head athletic trainer Doug Teter noticed something. He met Turnbull as soon as the right-hander reached the dugout. Kyle Funkhouser quickly began warming in the bullpen.
The Tigers are already down two starters in their rotation, though José Ureña is on track to return Sunday after a right forearm strain near his wrist forced him to miss a start. Julio Teheran hasn’t pitched since April 3 this season due to a right shoulder strain.
Though injuries slowed Turnbull’s rise up the Tigers’ farm system early in his pro career after Detroit drafted him in 2014, he has been fairly durable in his brief big league career. He had minimal stays on the injured list in 2019 with right shoulder fatigue and an upper back strain.