Spencer Turnbull, one of the cornerstones of the Detroit Tigers rotation, is done for the remainder of the 2021 season. On Tuesday, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch announced that Turnbull would undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
The Tigers are undefeated since the All-Star break, but 2021 is not their year. Turnbull will likely miss a significant portion of the 2022 season following his Tommy John surgery. The franchise is in the beginning stages of a rebuild, but this injury will set this goal back.
Spencer Turnbull 2021 Campaign
Turnbull was having a tremendous season before the injury. His last appearance came on June 4, and as all teams do, they push off surgery as long as possible. The Tigers were hopeful that the damage in the 28-year-old’s arm was nothing serious, but this was not the case.
Turnbull has not been great over his career, but the Tiger has improved every season, and he began to find his groove in 2021.
In nine starts, Turnbull was 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA. He tossed 50 innings this year and struck out 44 batters during his time on the hill. His strikeout rate was not great, but he did not miss spots. He only walked 6% of the batters he faced and induced ground balls 57.2% of the time. Both of these marks ranked Turnbull amongst the best wings in the game.
Turnbull has been sidelined for over a month, and the club has been able to win games. This is positive news heading into 2022. Although, it’s disappointing that the young trio of Turnbull, Casey Mize, and Tarik Skubal will no longer be together until the latter half of 2022.
Turnbull etched his name into the MLB record books when he threw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on May 18, 2021.
Spencer Turnbull’s Future in Detroit
It’s likely that Turnbull may have ended up with a contender this season if he remained healthy. Multiple teams are in the market for a pitcher at the deadline, and Turnbull’s name would have been at the top of the list.
The team controls the hurler through the 2024 season, so he still has guaranteed time to make his name as a Detroit Tiger. If things do not work in 2022, expect Turnbull to be back on the hill leading the club in 2023.
The injury will hurt Turnbull’s chance of signing a big deal in free agency. He would likely have been offered a substantial deal following the season to stay in Detroit following the rebuild if the wing was not traded.
The pitcher’s tenacity makes him a candidate to bounce back from this injury, but everyone reacts to Tommy John surgery differently.