Results tagged ‘ Jacob Turner ’

Turner terrific in Toledo … what’s next?

Jacob Turner was on an innings limit and a pitch count Friday for Triple-A Toledo in his first start on regular rest since he made his spot start in Detroit. Whether the innings were perfect or not, he wasn’t going to go beyond six, as specified by the Tigers. If he hit the pitch count before then, he would’ve been out.

Instead, he made his innings pretty impressive, going six scoreless on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts. He needed just 66 pitches and 47 strikes, including nine-pitch innings in the fifth and sixth, and first-pitch strikes to 14 out of 22 Buffalo Bisons. His only three-ball count was his only walk, that to Triple-A veteran Valentino Pascucci. Take away that walk, and he had just three other two-ball counts, and two of those ended in strikeouts.

In short, Turner looked like a guy on his way to catching up with the International League.

“Just coming back on five days, I think, made a difference,” Turner said after the game. “My stuff was a little sharper. … Everything was kind of in sync tonight.”

As good as the numbers were, the pitches might have been better. He threw consistently tight, sharp curveballs and got swings and misses. Most of his strikeouts came off that pitch. By my count, only one guy made solid enough contact off of it to get a base hit, and he had to reach for it.

“Really, my last start in Double-A, I think I got a good feeling for it,” Turner said. “And then it just kind of carried over from then on. It’s been a little bit crisper than it had in the past. The break’s been a little bit sharper, and I think that’s helped me get a lot more swing-and-misses with it. It’s been a lot more consistent.”

As Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin put it, Turner was “outstanding.” He was also good enough to probably go for a complete game in 100 pitches or less if not for the innings limit.

The limits set him up for at least one more start, and it won’t be on that extra-long rest. The question now is where that will happen. The plan, Nevin said, calls for Turner to start for the Hens in five days, and Turner said his understanding was the same.

On the other hand, there’s the mystery in Minneapolis, where Tigers manager Jim Leyland has an open spot for a starter on Sept. 1, the day rosters expand. Leyland is giving Justin Verlander an extra day’s rest before his next start Sept. 2 against the White Sox. The Sept. 1 game is a makeup contest against the Royals.

According to Chris Iott of Booth Newspapers, when Leyland was asked about the starter for Sept. 1, his answer was, “Stay tuned.”

Andy Oliver is scheduled to start for the Mud Hens Saturday, which would put him on a timetable where his regular turn would come up again Sept. 1. But he also has had a wild summer, most recent seven innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts despite five walks.

Keep in mind, when Turner got his spot start for the Tigers in July, he was the scheduled starter for Erie all week until the day before, when he suddenly was scratched. The Tigers had called up Drew Smyly and written him in for the next day before suddenly moving him up a day. The Tigers, meanwhile, had indicated weeks earlier that Turner wasn’t an option to start in Detroit, though that was more about the rotation than about a spot assignment.

Tigers calling up Turner, closing in on deal

Forget about Tigers top prospect Jacob Turner going to Colorado. It appears the right-hander is coming to Detroit. But if the Tigers can complete trade talks in the coming hours, it also appears that it won’t be a long stay.

Turner was abruptly scratched from his scheduled start for Double-A Erie last night and left the SeaWolves, who were in Akron for a weekend series. That move, which was confirmed Friday night, prompted speculation he was about to be traded, especially after a Foxsports.com report suggested the Tigers were willing to include him in a trade package for Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez.

Instead, he’s expected to be called up by the Tigers to start Saturday night against the Angels at Comerica Park in what would be his Major League debut. SI.com’s Jon Heyman first reported the call-up.

Now, that start is sounding more like a spot assignment. CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler reports that the Tigers are hopeful of completing a deal today with the Mariners for right-hander Doug Fister. That trade could include Tigers left-handed prospect Charlie Furbush, Knobler reported.

It wouldn’t be the blockbuster some might have hoped the Tigers would do with Jimenez, but it would fill Detroit’s fifth starter void quite nicely without forcing Detroit to sell out its farm system. Though the 27-year-old Fister owns a 3-12 record, his 3.33 ERA ranks 20th among AL starters, ahead of every current Detroit starter not named Justin Verlander. His 1.17 WHIP ratio ranks 15th.

Turner scratched from Erie start … now what?

Jacob Turner was set to start for Double-A Erie on Saturday at Akron against Drew Pomeranz in a matchup of two of baseball’s top pitching prospects. It was going to be a scout’s delight, especially if that scout happened to be with the Rockies, whose ace Ubaldo Jimenez has drawn interest from Detroit and Cleveland.

Sounds like quite a showcase, except that Turner won’t be starting for Erie on Saturday, according to a source. Drew Smyly, the highly-regarded Tigers draft pick from last year who had been promoted to start for Erie on Sunday, will start on Saturday instead. It would’ve been his day to pitch on normal rest if he had stayed at Class A Lakeland anyway.

As for Turner, his whereabouts are unknown. He isn’t in Akron with the SeaWolves, having left the team Friday, and Tigers officials weren’t answering questions about his status Friday night. SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported early Saturday morning that the Tigers are calling up Turner. But Duane Below, the Tigers’ scheduled starter for Saturday, was spotted in the Tigers clubhouse after Friday’s game, and he wasn’t seen packing his bags.

That leaves three possibilities:

  1. Turner could be on the verge of being traded. A report from Foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal stated the Tigers are now willing to deal Jacob Turner in a package for Jimenez. But a report later Friday from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com suggested the Tigers were out of the running for Jimenez for now. Unless the Tigers get a top pitching target for longer than a two-month rental, it’s unlikely they would trade Turner, who’s expected to compete for a rotation spot next spring.
  2. Turner could indeed be on the verge of joining the Tigers. Detroit just happened to move him up in Erie’s rotation over the All-Star break so that his start conveniently fell on the same day as the Tigers’ fifth spot currently held by Below. Tigers officials still said at the time that he wasn’t a consideration, but sources suggested there was some serious thought on the matter. At the very least, he became an insurance option. He has better stuff than most pitchers available on the trade market, and the Tigers ended Friday with seemingly no clear path on their trade pursuits.
  3. Turner is away from the team for other reasons. As crazy as that sounds, it’s conceivable if a family issue popped up or he had other personal reasons.

Turner pushed back to next week for Erie

For a while, Jacob Turner looked like a legitimate candidate to start for the Tigers on Wednesday, having been pushed back in the rotation to line up with that spot. Now, not only is he not pitching for Detroit, he won’t be starting for Double-A Erie on Wednesday, either.

The Tigers have decided to skip their top pitching prospect for a turn, citing his busy stretch last week between appearances at the All-Star Futures Game Sunday in Phoenix, the Eastern League All-Star Game Wednesday in New Hampshire and his moved-up start Friday out of the break.

It isn’t his first such break. The 20-year-old right-hander had nine days’ rest in mid-June. He’ll get the same total by the time he’s scheduled to return to the mound for Erie next Monday.

The Tigers haven’t definitively said Turner is on an innings count this year in his second professional season, but they’re keeping an eye on it.

“We are monitoring his work load,” Tigers vice president and assistant general manager Al Avila said in an email.

Below to start Wednesday for Tigers

Duane Below will get his shot for the Tigers on Wednesday. He’s the scheduled starter for the two-game series finale against Oakland, the team announced Tuesday morning.

It’ll be the Major League debut for the 25-year-old Michigan native.

The announcement after Jacob Turner was moved up two days in the Erie rotation to coincide with the Tigers’ open spot, then Charlie Furbush pitched an inning of relief Sunday and supposedly scratched from his start for the Mud Hens. In other words, this move comes after no shortage of twists and turns.

The Tigers will have to make a roster move to bring up Below after tonight’s game. No word on that yet, though it’s safe to say the condition of Austin Jackson’s ailing wrist might play a role in that. If he still isn’t right, he could go on the disabled list to make room.

Of all the pitching prospects at Triple-A Toledo, Below has been the quietest, but he’s been quietly consistent. He’s 9-4 with a 3.13 ERA in 18 starts as a Mud Hen this year, allowing 99 hits over 115 innings. He’s unbeaten in his last four outings, allowing six runs on 20 hits over 26 innings in that stretch with 10 walks and 18 strikeouts.

Furbush looking likely for Wednesday start

The Tigers have not announced their scheduled starter for Wednesday yet, but the scene at Triple-A Toledo Sunday night suggests they’ve made their choice. Charlie Furbush, who started Thursday’s game for the Mud Hens, made a surprise relief appearance Sunday night for the Hens in the sixth inning. As the Toledo Blade’s John Wagner reports on his Coop Scoop blog, Hens manager Phil Nevin said after the game that he pitched Furbush an inning in relief at the Tigers’ request.

Nevin also told The Blade that Fu-Ne Ni is now scheduled to start for the Mud Hens Tuesday in the spot that originally belonged to Furbush.

Considering Tigers officials are now saying Jacob Turner is unlikely to pitch in Detroit this season despite the Tigers moving him up two days in the rotation at Double-A Erie, to a spot that coincides with the open spot in Detroit’s rotation, all this Furbush speculation could still amount to nothing. Or, it could mean he got an extra inning of work for Furbush to keep him fresh before starting for the Tigers Wednesday night against Oakland on an extra day’s rest.

It might well be a spot start until the Tigers trade for another starter, as Dombrowski admitted he’s trying to do in an interview with Foxsports.com Sunday. But for now, the best guess is that it’s Furbush’s rotation spot. Put it this way: The Tigers wouldn’t request an inning of relief for Furbush if he was being pushed back a day to take Duane Below’s rotation spot in Toledo on Wednesday.

One more thought on Turner: If the Tigers are determined to add a veteran starter, then it makes sense to have him stay in the minors rather than take the spot. Yes, Justin Verlander made two spot starts in 2005 before cracking the rotation the next year, but he was older and neither start went well. One advantage Jeremy Bonderman and Rick Porcello had when they made the Tigers rotation at age 20 was that they knew they had the patience of the organization on their side. If they blew up in a start, they’d be back out there in five days or so. This isn’t a luxury the Tigers have now, and having Turner reading the rumor mill while he’s trying to read scouting reports makes no sense for anyone. He probably has better stuff than anyone the Tigers can acquire, unless they pull off a deal for Ubaldo Jimenez, but it doesn’t matter unless there’s patience.

Turner moved up in rotation at Erie

It’s an off-day for the Tigers, who worked out tonight at Comerica Park, but it’s still a news day. It’s also a game day for Double-A Erie, where Jacob Turner has rejoined the club after pitching in the All-Star Futures Game Sunday at Phoenix and the Eastern League All-Star Game Wednesday in New Hampshire.

When Turner talked in Phoenix, he said his next start for Erie was slated for July 18, giving him some extra rest. That plan has changed in recent days. Turner will start for the SeaWolves tomorrow (Friday), despite pitching an inning in the Eastern League All-Star Game two days earlier.

Coincidentally, the Tigers have an open spot in their rotation five days later, the normal time between starts. But it’s difficult to see a pitching prospect being moved up two days in the rotation by a team with an open spot as a coincidence.

That doesn’t mean that Turner is the choice to start next Wednesday. Charlie Furbush started Thursday for Triple-A Toledo, and he remains a strong option to return to Detroit. Duane Below, who takes a 9-4 record and 3.06 ERA into his start for the Mud Hens on Friday, also appears to be an option. There’s also the trade route, though it would be difficult to line up somebody from another team’s rotation to come in and start on that short notice. There are no indications yet that the Tigers have set their plans for next Wednesday.

Even if Furbush starts next Wednesday, that doesn’t necessarily solve the issue beyond that. By moving up Turner, the Tigers put him in line with that fifth spot for the foreseeable future. If Furbush has another rough outing, the Tigers could take the chance and start Turner. But if the Tigers go to Turner, it isn’t likely to be for just a spot start. That’s where this juggling act gets tricky, and why the Tigers are taking their time on this. If Furbush starts and the Tigers later trade for a starter or opt for Turner, Furbush can go the bullpen. They won’t do that shuffle with Turner.

Turner on call: “I really haven’t even thought about it”

Jacob Turner had just landed in Phoenix Saturday night when he learned about Charlie Furbush’s rough start at Kansas City and option back to Triple-A Toledo. He was not thinking he might be next in line in Detroit, he said.

“I really haven’t even thought about it like that,” Turner said Sunday afternoon from Chase Field, before he pitched two outs in the All-Star Futures Game. “Obviously I saw that Furbush got sent down, but he’s done really well up there. I think he had one bad outing. Right now I’m focused on whatever I can do to get better. I think the rest will take care of itself.”

Turner’s next pitching assignment is on Wednesday in New Hampshire, where he’s on the roster for the Eastern League All-Star Game. After that, he’s scheduled to start Erie’s fifth game out of the All-Star break, which would be next Monday. The Tigers have a TBA listed for that Wednesday. So far, there’s no indication he’s guy to make that start.

Turner does watch the Tigers, but it’s mainly to watch who’s in the rotation now, especially the guy at the top of it, Justin Verlander.

“I think I’ve watched every time he’s started,” Turner said. “It’s unbelievable, really. I watched his last outing. The stuff that he has and the command of the stuff, it’s something not seen out of any other big league starter out there right now.”

Turner talked a lot about the adjustments he has made facing Double-A hitters. His consistency, he believes, is getting better. So is his changeup.

“It’s getting better,” he said. “It’s something that’s been a big pitch for me recently. If I’m behind in the count or even if I need a strikeout or an easy ground ball, it’s something I can go to. I’m still working on learning to control it as consistently as I can control my fastball, but that’s been a big pitch for me. Obviously, it makes my fastball look a lot faster.”

Turner jumps up prospect rankings

I’m off for the next couple days and will be on MLB.com’s All-Star coverage in Phoenix, starting with Sunday’s Futures Game, so I’m not on the Tigers for a while. But I wanted to keep posting with Tigers-related all-star stuff in the coming days. And while I was studying up for the Futures Game, I came across Baseball America’s midseason top 50 prospect rankings, where Jacob Turner is 11th.

Turner went into spring training ranked 21st on Baseball America’s preseason top 100, so there’s a big jump there. A lot of that jump comes from high-ranked prospects getting called up to the Majors and thus dropping off the list, but Turner also passed up a couple guys who had some growing pains at higher levels.

Turner is scheduled to take part in the Futures Game on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2, as is his Erie SeaWolves teammate Francisco Martinez.

The next logical question for Tigers fans, of course, is when Turner might make that jump to the big leagues himself. As things stand, I don’t get the impression that move is close. Charlie Furbush is starting again Saturday, and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Wednesday he would anticipate Furbush will be in the rotation coming out of the break.

“It’s really in his court at this point,” Dombrowski said of Furbush.

But Dombrowski also made the point that Furbush is going to have to put up results to keep that spot. In so doing, he gave the impression that it’s going to be a tough environment down the stretch to show a lot of patience in young prospects in geral.

“You’re really not in a development stage,” Dombrowski said. “You’re not really in a situation where you can hand [Furbush] the ball the rest of the year. He’s going to have to produce.”

First round of roster cuts

The Tigers made their first round of roster moves Tuesday, and as expected, it cleared a big chunk of the clubhouse. Yet none of them were of particular surprise.

Among the players on the 40-man roster, Duane Below, Audy Ciriaco, Cale Iorg, Andy Oliver, Lester Oliveros, Jose Ortega and Ryan Strieby were optioned to Triple-A Toledo. Jacob Turner was optioned to Double-A Erie, so it appears he’ll take that step up to start the season rather than wait until the weather warms up.

Among the non-roster invites, here’s teh list of guys optioned to minor-league camp: John Bale, Rob Brantly, Brandon Douglas, Avisail Garcia, Ben Guez, Bryan Holaday, Patrick Leyland, John Murrian, Chris Oxspring and Omir Santos.

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