Spencer Turnbull away from Detroit Tigers for COVID-19 reasons
LAKELAND, Fla. – Detroit Tigers right-handed Spencer Turnbull left the team’s spring training facility speaking for the starter on opening day and has been quarantined due to COVID-19 protocols.
“He is currently not available,” said manager AJ Hinch on Friday. “He is not in the facility today and will not be here in the coming days. Even without any misconduct of his own. He did not break any protocol or anything like that.
“We are sticking to the protocols that were presented to us and he cannot come into the complex at the moment.”
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Hinch did not provide any further information, but did mention that Turnbull is not allowed to enter the team complex – including the backfields – at this point. He wouldn’t split if he expected the right-handed to come back.
This means Turnbull is unlikely to throw, a worry considering he has to build his innings for the start of the season. At first, the 28-year-old seemed to be under discussion to start in the opening series against the Indians.
What Turnbull’s absence means for the start of the season remains unclear.
“We’re not sure,” said Hinch. “We have to manage that on a daily basis.”
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Hinch would like to build pitchers with up to four or five innings – a maximum of around 70-80 pitches – before he leaves for camp. Nobody is going to throw six innings. “You don’t have to run a marathon in your training to run a marathon,” said Hinch. “The same goes for jugs.”
This spring, Turnbull has thrown nine innings over three starts. He has nine strikes and four walks, with five runs allowed. He went four innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, allowing a run with four strikeouts.
Hinch wouldn’t rule out a start for Turnbull on opening day but wasn’t shy about sharing his concern about keeping players healthy, especially on the track. The Tigers leave Lakeland on March 30th.
“I always worry when our boys are out of camp and miss a bit of time,” said Hinch. “It’s worrying but it’s a reality. We’re trying to have some safe spring training and keep our guys in camp.”
Earlier this spring, infielder Zack Short and right-handed Bryan Garcia each missed about a week of in-game action for similar COVID-19 reasons. None of them broke the rules but had to be quarantined.
Bullpen reps for Fulmer
When the Tigers face the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater on Sunday, right-handed Matt Manning will replace veteran Michael Fulmer.
The reason: Hinch would like to give Fulmer a “different look”, who spent the entire 2020 season rehabilitating himself from the operation of Tommy Johns in the major league because the minors were canceled. He threw no more than three innings.
This spring, the 28-year-old has six innings over three starts, allowing 10 runs with 10 hits and five walks with three strikeouts. He also beat two batters.
“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity,” said Hinch. “So that we can get him to kickstart, we might take the burden off of being the starting pitcher that day.”
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Fulmer made all 10 of his starts last season, but he finished with an 8.78 ERA, 12 walks, and 20 strikeouts in his 27⅔ innings. He allowed 27 earned runs and eight home runs.
“It was unfair for him to have to try to compete at this level while suffering a significant injury,” said Hinch. … “It also gives us the opportunity to give Manning a start, which is good for him and for us. Somehow they all came together as a collaborative group that we believe is best for at least (Fulmer) Excursion.”
Hinch will not rule out that Fulmer will move to the Bullpen in 2021.
“I’m not married to either of the two results,” said Hinch, “but we hope it will be less of a burden for him to go on a spring training trip.”
What Goodrum likes from Baddoo
Outfielder Akil Baddoo is 9:23 (.391) with three home runs and seven RBIs this spring. He has had eight walks compared to nine strikers and has shown maturity on the bases.
If the Minnesota Twins rule 5 draft pick remains on the active roster for the entire season, the Tigers can keep it. If not, it must be offered to the twins.
“He handles it well,” said Niko Goodrum, a member of the 2010-17 Twins system, on Friday. “Play the outfield well, make the bases run well, steal bags, hit the ball well. He shows the power and the striking tools. It’s going well for him.
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“He’s locked up. He gets his workout at the gym and takes care of his body, takes care of his arm. He does the right things. He prepares well, so I just hope he can stay on that track. Stay.” focused so he can produce day after day if he gets his chance this season. “
This off-season, Goodrum and Baddoo – both near Atlanta – have trained together at the same training facility. Baddoo also traveled to Goodrum’s batting cage and gym in his garage. They also played video games together.
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Despite Goodrum’s offensive fights stemming from a left-handed swinging against right-handed pitchers and missing too much, the 29-year-old gave advice to 22-year-old Baddoo.
He wanted to prepare him for camp.
“I’ve just given him a few things to look for and pitch to prepare,” Goodrum said. “The approach and confidence to have and the opportunities to take advantage of … Great athlete, great work ethic. Everyone really loves what they see.”
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.