DETROIT — Spencer Turnbull is still shut down 20 days after he last took the mound for the Detroit Tigers.
The 30-year-old right-hander was originally optioned to Triple-A Toledo on May 7. Five days later, the Tigers rescinded the option and placed Turnbull on the Major League injured list.
Turnbull spoke briefly to reporters on Friday for the first time since the drama unfolded earlier this month.
Turnbull said he regrets not being forthright about the neck injury that had been bothering him for much of the season.
“I should have spoken up about it,” he said. “I shouldn’t have tried to play through it. That was on me for not saying something about it sooner, just trying to be tough.
“But once we got the MRI, it showed the injury and we’ve got to let it heal up and do what the doctor says and focus on getting back out there.”
Turnbull said he recently underwent a subsequent MRI that showed some healing. He’ll get another one in about two weeks. If that one comes back positive, he could start a throwing program.
Turnbull has struggled this season in his comeback from the Tommy John elbow surgery that he underwent in 2021. In seven starts, Turnbull is 1-4 with a 7.26 ERA. He has struck out 24 and walked 15 in 31 innings.
This wasn’t how he or the Tigers had hoped things would go. Before his injury, Turnbull was perhaps the Tigers’ top pitcher, with a 4.13 ERA and 3.67 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) over his last 50 starts, 24th best in baseball among regular starters from 2019-2021.
“It’s definitely tested my patience for sure,” he said. “It’s not what I wanted out of this season. But there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve got to get it right and get back out there.”