Concerning Spencer Turnbull injury update forces Phillies to change rotation plans

With Turnbull’s start cut short by injury, the Phillies will have to adjust their rotation, again.
Philadelphia Phillies v Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies v Detroit Tigers / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies are facing another injury scare after Spencer Turnbull was pulled from his start after only three innings of work during Wednesday afternoon's 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Turnbull returned to the dugout after finishing the inning and was lifted after experiencing soreness in his pitching shoulder.

It's an unfortunate development for Turnbull, who was just recently returned to the Phillies rotation after Taijuan Walker was placed on the IL with a blister on his index finger. Turnbull has been solid this season in seven starts and 17 total appearances, and was expected to increase his workload in the absence of Walker.

Concerning Spencer Turnbull injury update forces Phillies to change rotation plans

Manager Rob Thomson met with reporters after the game and was unsure of Turnbull's status after being removed from today's game.

"We'll find out a little bit more tomorrow, he's going to get some more testing. He felt a grab on the back of his shoulder. We didn't want to take any chances," manager Rob Thomson told the media after the game. "He threw a curveball on his second-last pitch and he felt it."

While Turnbull undergoes tests on his ailing shoulder, all attention shifts to next Tuesday, when this spot in the rotation comes up again against the Chicago Cubs. While it's possible that Thursday's starter Zack Wheeler could start, with an offday on Monday, that's unlikely. Thomson stated after the game that they have a good idea of who will make the start next Tuesday.

Michael Mercado the leading candidate to get the next start

Thomson confirmed after the game that rookie Michael Mercado is the “leading candidate” likely to make the start next week, and offered that his recent stint as a starting pitcher at Triple-A Lehigh Valley factors into that decision.

Mercado was just recalled this week to replace Walker on the 26-man roster, and made his MLB debut with a scoreless inning of work in Monday night's 8-1 victory over the Tigers. The 25-year-old showed great mound presence in his debut, notching his first strikeout, and retiring all three batters he faced.

With Turnbull sidelined, it appears Mercado will be making his first MLB start next week on the road against the Chicago Cubs. In 14 games (10 starts) for Lehigh Valley this season, Mercado was 1-1 with an ERA of 1.71 with 44 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP in 47 1/3 innings. Fully stretched out as a starting pitcher, it makes a lot of sense for the Phillies to give Mercado the ball against the Cubs.

While the Phillies await word on Turnbull's injury status, the team will hope Mercado can be the latest unsung hero called up from the minor leagues to make a strong contribution to the team, and help keep the Phillies winning ball games.