Manager A.J. Hinch delivered the news Tuesday that Turnbull will undergo surgery. It typically takes pitchers a year or more to return to the mound after Tommy John surgery.
Turnbull hasn’t appeared in a game since June 4 against the Chicago White Sox, when he was pulled after four solid innings due to injury. The Tigers hadn’t announced a timetable for his return, but now the road to recovery will leak into next year.
This was shaping up to be a career season for Turnbull, who owned a 2.88 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 0.980 WHIP and l44 strikeouts through 50 innings. He threw the franchise’s first no-hitter in a decade against the Seattle Mariners back in mid-May, around the time the Tigers were really starting to turn their season around.
Since showing flashes of his potential in 2019 -- when he finished with a 3-17 record despite a 3.99 FIP and solid strikeout rate -- Turnbull has battled injuries on-and-off for two years.
He made 11 starts in the pandemic-shortened 2020, posting a 3.97 ERA, 3.49 FIP and 1.341 WHIP.
Dramatically decreasing his walk rate while maintaining his other underlying metrics allowed Turnbull to take a major step forward this season. But now, he likely won’t retake the mound until sometime around his 30th birthday in September 2022.
Turnbull is under team control until 2025.