Tigers to be without Spencer Turnbull until early August; Ian Krol back in the big leagues
Arlington, Texas — No sense easing into a Wednesday morning in the middle of a seven-game road trip.
The Tigers made a flurry of moves:
► Right-handed pitcher Spencer Turnbull (forearm strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list after experiencing a setback in his throwing program.
► Left-handed reliever Ian Krol, who pitched for the Tigers in 2014 and 2015 but hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2018, had his contract purchased from Triple-A Toledo and was available for duty Wednesday.
► Reliever Bryan Garcia was optioned to Toledo.
► Utility player Niko Goodrum (finger) was activated off the injured list to replace outfielder Daz Cameron, who was placed on the injured list with a right toe sprain.
The Turnbull news is discouraging. He had started his throwing program in Lakeland but shut it down quickly after the pain in the forearm returned.
“He’s taken a step backward,” manager AJ Hinch said. “The symptoms have re-emerged. He’ll have to go through the full battery of tests. We brought him here from Florida and he’s seeing (specialist) Dr. (Keith) Meister today. He’s going to be shut down for a little bit.”
Turnbull, who threw a no-hitter on May 18, won’t be back until at least early August.
The Tigers presently have a rotation that features rookie Casey Mize, who is on a three-inning limit for his next few starts; rookie Tarik Skubal, who will likely face innings restrictions in the second half of the season; veteran Jose Urena, who has not thrown five full innings in more than a month; rookie Matt Manning and veteran Wily Peralta.
“We’ve got some issues,” Hinch said. “But that doesn’t mean we want to make a bad decision after some bad luck or some bad turn of events. Our No. 1 priority is to keep our current pitchers healthy. We’re not going to alter Mize’s schedule or what our plans are for Skubal and Manning — it’s just not smart for us.”
Hinch said Urena, who was in turn to start Sunday in Minnesota, will make his next start in the first game back after the break, also against the Twins. Peralta will start on Sunday in Minnesota and the Tigers will deploy a bullpen game on Saturday.
Krol was warming up to close the game for the Mud Hens in Omaha on Tuesday night when he was told to stop. He had to catch a flight.
And just like that, the two-year journey that took him through a tour of Triple-A teams (Angels, Mets, Reds, Twins, Tigers) and a stop in Independent ball in Indiana, Krol was headed back to the big leagues.
“He’s outpitched everybody down there,” Hinch said. “We had other options (Miguel Del Pozo, Derek Holland, Alex Lange), but it does feel good to reward Krol for the work he’s done this season. He was highly recommended by our Triple-A staff. I’m happy for him.”
Krol, 30, who pitched well enough as a non-roster invitee this spring to earn a roster spot, had allowed just six earned runs with 26 strikeouts and 10 walks in 22⅓ innings for the Mud Hens.
“His life, his career path, he’s really grown up and matured as a person,” Hinch said. “He’s persevered through a lot of things personally and professionally to get himself back to this level. He’s always had the ability to pitch at this level, always had good stuff and his velocity has ticked up a little bit to go with the breaking ball, which is a big weapon.
“But his mental perseverance is one of the most impressive things that he’s brought to the table.”
Outfield reps for Goodrum
Goodrum started in center field for the Mud Hens on Tuesday, which was an indication of where he will likely be getting his playing time now with the Tigers.
“Yeah, he’s going to be more utility than just playing infield,” Hinch said. “Originally we planned on him playing another day or two down there in Omaha, but with our circumstances, we needed to bring him back here.
“He’s going to be in that utility-type role, bouncing around the field, like we had envisioned for him at the start of the year.”
Derek Hill might have been the first consideration to replace Cameron, but Hill, too, is fighting through a toe injury.
“We need him to play a few more games to make sure the toe is back to full strength,” Hinch said. “I didn’t want to replace an injured toe with an injured toe. And I don’t think I’ve ever said a sentence like that before.”
Refresh, reset, respond
Garcia gave up two long home runs in the ninth inning on Monday and two more long home runs in the eighth Tuesday. The right-hander who ended last season as the club’s closer, has allowed 26 earned runs in 32 innings.
Time for a change.
“Everything was moving pretty fast for him,” Hinch said. “He needs to decompress and get away from everything, everything from being snakebitten to not executing, to giving up damage and walking leadoff hitters. It was just spiraling to a level where he needed to go down to Triple-A and collect himself.”
Hinch said the demotion would serve as a mental and physical break for Garcia, who had been optioned down to Toledo earlier this season, too.
“I do think he has the ability to pitch here,” Hinch said. “I know he’s really frustrated. He was beaten down and rightfully so after the last couple of days. He can collect himself and get back here. He’s a big-league pitcher.”
Around the horn
Shortstop Zack Short will be getting some time on network highlight shows for his work in the sixth inning Wednesday.
With the score still tied and right-hander Kyle Funkhouser working his second inning of reliever, Short made a Jose Iglesias-esque, over-the-shoulder catch of a sinking liner by Nate Lowe.
Then, after a two-out walk to Adolis Garcia, Short made a diving catch going to his left to take a single away from Joey Gallo. It was the only time the Tigers got Gallo out on this day.
… Jeimer Candelario homered for the first time since May 18 on Wednesday, covering 162 plate appearances.
On deck: Twins
► Series: Four games at Target Field, Minneapolis
► First pitch: Thursday-Friday — 8:10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday — 2:10 p.m.
► TV/radio: All games on BSD/97.1
► Probables: Thursday — LHP Tarik Skubal (5-7, 4.35) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (4-4, 6.09); Friday — RHP Matt Manning (1-2, 7.94) vs. RHP Kenta Maeda (4-3, 5.03); Saturday — TBA vs. RHP Bailey Ober (1-1, 4.85); Sunday — RHP Wily Peralta (2-1, 2.14) vs. RHP Jose Berrios (7-3, 3.36)
► Skubal, Tigers: Among things that impress about Skubal is how tough he is in tough spots. To wit: opponents are 3-for-40 with 14 strikeouts in high-leverage situations. With runners in scoring position, he’s limiting hitters to a .178 average. With two outs and runners in scoring position, .139.
► Happ, Twins: He’s been hittable of late. Over his last six starts, he’s been tagged with 24 earned runs in 29 innings (7.45 ERA) with hitters slashing a lusty .357/.400/.690. Over 12% of the balls put in play against him have an exit velocity of more than 95 mph. Opponents are hitting his 90-mph four-seam at a .290 clip and slugging .562 against it.