Detroit Tigers: A check-up on starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull

(Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports) /

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull will be given a warm welcome back.

The Detroit Tigers starting rotation has spanned 16 pitchers in 2022, but right-handed pitcher Spencer Turnbull was not one of them. He has been off the field recovering from Tommy John Surgery which cut his 2021 season down to just nine starts.

It’s been a long road to recovery time for the right-hander. As the Detroit Tigers close out the 2022 season and the offseason is upon them, what can Turnbull bring to the rotation when he returns? There has to be hope that he can be a solid option at the front of the rotation upon his return.

If not for injuries, Turnbull likely would have entered the 2022 season as the team’s number one option, battling with Casey Mize for that top spot in the rotation. Instead, both are on the road to recovery after Mize’s 2022 season ended so that he could undergo Tommy John Surgery.

There’s a lot to like about Turnbull and what he can bring to the table when he finally does return. Speaking of, what could the right-hander be aiming for as he gets back on the mound?

Detroit Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull will boost the 2023 rotation.

There has not been a ton of new information about Turnbull. No videos of him throwing again or anything like that. However, he has been working through his recovery timeline. The most recent update came from A.J. Hinch, suggesting that Turnbull will be unlikely to pitch during the 2022 season.

According to an MLB Trade Rumors report, Turnbull pitching for the Tigers in 2022 would take an “aggressive” timeline. Given the teams’ recent organizational changes to the front office, they will see a shakeup.

With interim general manager (GM) Sam Menzin in charge, they likely will play things safely. It means that they’re going to be overly cautious with the right-hander. The next time he pitches for the Tigers will likely be when the 2023 season starts.

Turnbull has been in the big leagues since making his debut in 2018, which somehow was five seasons ago. After nearly two years between starts, he will aim to return for the 2023 season.

His last start came on June 4, 2021,  just 17 days after he made history by throwing a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners. While he only made nine starts in 2021, he was starting off the season on the right foot.

He accumulated 50 innings pitched, where he pitched to a 2.88 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, and added 44 punchouts along the way. He was settling in as a confident presence on the mound and looking like he could be an excellent benefit to the rotation.

Turnbull has had his struggles and has battled the mental side of the game at times. But in 2021, it felt like he was piecing things together. If Turnbull can bring some of this dominant mound presence to the rotation in 2023, it will be more than a nice boost to the rotation.

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With the Tigers being without Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal on their respective roads to recovery, getting Turnbull back will be a nice added boost. Not pitching in 2022 allows Turnbull to spend more time working back to be 100% ready when the 2023 season rolls around.