What was recently considered a promising bid for the fifth spot in the Chicago Cubs’ rotation came to a screeching halt on Tuesday for right-hander Jacob Turner – who was diagnosed with a flexor strain and a bone bruise in his elbow.
Turner, who was once regarded as a top prospect with the Marlins, split 2014 between Miami and Chicago, pitching to 6.13 ERA across 28 outings – including 18 starts. The right-hander made just half a dozen starts for the Cubs, struggling a great deal, as control issues plagued his second half.
This spring, Turner made just one outing for the Cubs – pitching a pair of innings last Thursday against the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants. After the appearance, he reported feeling some soreness in his elbow, which prompted the MRI that uncovered the injuries.
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For Chicago, it means one less arm vying for a spot in the starting rotation. With Turner likely to open the year on the disabled list, Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood are the clear-cut front-runners for the job, with Felix Doubront and Tsuyoshi Wada likely on the outside looking in.
Since he was drafted in the first round by the Detroit Tigers back in 2009, Turner has battled consistency issues – never realizing his full potential. In parts of four big league seasons, the St. Louis native has a 1.467 WHIP and has allowed 10 hits per nine – while compiling a 4.97 earned run average.
The Cubs picked up Turner’s 2015 option at the low cost of $1 million – and given he’s out of options, this gives Chicago an opportunity to get him some minor league work early on in 2015 ahead of a potential big league debut this year.
If he can stay healthy and get his control issues under handle, the righty could be another buy-low, high-upside signing for the Cubs’ front office duo. However, if injuries and command are again a struggle, his tenure in the Windy City could be very short-lived.