First, the news was that the Detroit Tigers were calling up star pitching prospect Jacob Turner.
That was followed up by reports that Turner would be starting Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Finally, rumor had it that this would be a one-and-done start for Turner. After facing the Angels, regardless of the result, Turner would be headed back down to the minors.
As manager Jim Leyland put it:
“He’s going to start one game and that’s it. He’ll be sent back after the game,” Leyland said. “10 runs, no runs, perfect game, no hitter — (it’s) one start, that’s it.”
General manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters that Turner would be optioned back to the minors after Saturday’s game. But he won’t be going back to Double-A Erie. Turner will instead report to Triple-A Toledo.
So why pitch Turner for a spot start when Duane Below was originally scheduled to pitch Saturday and is still on the roster? Apparently, the Tigers felt Turner gave them the best chance to win.
“The recommendation of our minor league people was that if we had to win a game today and pitch somebody, he would be the unanimous (choice),” Leyland said. “This is one of the fun parts of managing because you get to be involved in something like this. We’ll see how it goes.”
Still a strange move, if you ask me. But maybe the Tigers wanted to see what they had in Turner and how he’d perform against a good major league lineup. And if he falters, Below is available to pitch long relief. (But pitching Turner instead doesn’t exactly indicate that the Tigers view Below highly.)
To make room on the active roster for Turner on Saturday, Charlie Furbush was optioned to Triple-A Toledo. But he presumably won’t report to the Mud Hens, as he’s one of the players the Tigers traded to Seattle for Fister.