Detroit Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, won’t pitch in 2022

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at the team’s spring training facility in Lakeland, Florida, is not expected to pitch in 2022.

The 29-year-old underwent the procedure July 29, 2021.

Although Turnbull is making progress, the Tigers don’t want to push him in his return only to pitch at the end of the season. By that point, the starting rotation could feature Tarik Skubal, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Manning, Beau Brieske and Michael Pineda.

“I don’t think Turnbull is going to pitch this season, based on where we’re at and where he’s at,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s a slow rise, meaning we’d have to have a sprint finish to get him into the game in September. That’s probably not wise for us or wise for Turnbull.”

Turnbull posted a 2.88 ERA with 12 walks and 44 strikeouts over 50 innings in nine starts last season. He threw a no-hitter May 18 against the Mariners in Seattle.

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Catcher Jake Rogers, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2021, recently took live batting practice with fellow catcher Dustin Garneau (groin) against rehabbing left-hander Joey Wentz (shoulder).

“He’s doing better,” Hinch said of Wentz. “The live BP was good. He’s now recovered and is building back up his endurance to get on the mound.”

Rogers hit .239 with six home runs, 11 RBIs and 46 strikeouts in 38 games last season. The 27-year-old began his throwing program March 7 and is on track to begin his rehab assignment in August.

Once Rogers starts his rehab assignment, the Tigers will have 20 days before they must decide whether to promote him to the big leagues or option him to Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers won’t put Rogers on a team until the organization is certain he can play two of three days or back-to-back days.

“We’re still not within the 20-day range,” Hinch said.

Austin Meadows running out of time

Outfielder Austin Meadows, on the injured list with right and left Achilles strains, isn’t progressing at the rate the Tigers expected after the team pulled him off his rehab assignment in mid-July because of general soreness.

“It bothers everybody that he’s not progressing faster,” Hinch said. “We’re getting to the point during the season where we’re going to have to test him more aggressively for us to salvage part of the season.”

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Meadows, 27, hasn’t played for the Tigers since June 15. He has been active for just 14 of the team’s 74 games since May 6 due to several health-related issues, including vertigo, COVID-19 and Achilles strains in both legs.

The Tigers do not have a timeline for his return.

“We’re going to see him on this road trip in Minnesota,” Hinch said. “He’s going to rejoin us so we can see physically where he’s at. He’s still in Lakeland doing a lot of rehab. He hasn’t run yet. We’re going to hope to initiate that when he gets to us in Minnesota for a few days until we can hopefully get him out playing.”

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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