Detroit Tigers call-up Niko Goodrum, shift Spencer Turnbull to 60-day IL

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The best-case scenario for Detroit Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull is an early August return — a much different assumption than manager AJ Hinch presented Sunday, when he said Turnbull reported "no problems" after throwing a bullpen in Lakeland, Florida.

But Turnbull had a setback in his throwing program. He is recovering from a right forearm strain, which sent him to the 10-day injured list June 5. The Tigers transferred the starting pitcher to the 60-day injured list Wednesday as part of a slew of roster moves.

"He's still feeling symptoms," Hinch said Wednesday. "They've re-emerged. We've got to go back through the battery of tests. ... It looks like he will have to be shut down for a little bit in his throwing program given the symptoms he's feeling."

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Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull throws a pitch in the second inning of the 5-2 win over the Pirates in Game 2 of the doubleheader on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at Comerica Park.
Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull throws a pitch in the second inning of the 5-2 win over the Pirates in Game 2 of the doubleheader on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at Comerica Park.

The Tigers also placed outfielder Daz Cameron on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 5, with a right toe sprain. They reinstated utility player Niko Goodrum from the injured list and called him up from Triple-A Toledo, where he was on a rehab assignment.

After Tuesday's game, the Tigers demoted right-handed reliever Bryan Garcia to Toledo. To fill his void, left-handed reliever Ian Krol was added to the 40-man roster and has already arrived — along with Goodrum — in Texas, where the team is wrapping up a three-game series with the Rangers.

To make room for Krol, Turnbull went to the 60-day injured list. Although Turnbull isn't available to pitch, he traveled to Texas. He is set to visit Wednesday with Dr. Keith Meister, the head team physician for the Rangers, for further evaluation of his throwing arm.

Krol pitched for the Tigers in the 2014 and 2015 seasons but hasn't appeared in the big leagues since 2018 with the Los Angles Angels. With the minor leagues canceled in 2020, the 30-year-old competed for the Nerds Herd in the City of Champions Cup, an independent league in Joliet, Illinois.

The Tigers gave Krol a minor-league contact in December and sent him to Triple-A Toledo during spring training. For the Mud Hens, he has posted a 2.42 ERA, 10 walks and 26 strikeouts over 22⅓ innings in 17 games.

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Detroit Tigers pitcher Ian Krol plays catch during spring training Feb. 21, 2021, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Ian Krol plays catch during spring training Feb. 21, 2021, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.

"We had (Miguel) Del Pozo, (Alex) Lange and (Derek) Holland, certainly options that we could've gone to, but it does feel good to reward Krol for the work he's done this season," Hinch said. "He's really grown up and matured as a person. He's persevered through a lot of things, both personally and professional to get himself back to this level.

"I think the mental perseverance has been one of the more impressive things that he's brought to the table. I'm proud of him because he's had to do a lot of things and be humbled of what it's going to take to get back to this level. And he's done it."

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Krol's spot was created by Garcia's struggles.

In the past two games against the Rangers, Garcia has allowed four home runs (and five earned runs) across two innings. The 26-year-old — who ended 2020 as the Tigers' closer — has logged a 7.31 ERA this season with 20 walks and 28 strikeouts in 32 innings.

Already sent down to Triple-A Toledo once, the Tigers believe a second stint in the minors is the best option. When Hinch spoke with Garcia after Tuesday's game, the manager said his reliever was "beaten down" and "very frustrated" with his performance.

"We've seen some glimpses of good things," Hinch said. "I've always wanted to use him, maybe more so than even his numbers indicated and how well he was pitching. You always felt like the next outing was going to be a little bit better for him. Everything was moving pretty fast. He needed to decompress. Everything from being snake bitten to not executing to giving up damage to walking leadoff hitters, I mean, it was just spiraling."

For the final roster move, Cameron and Goodrum traded spots on the injured list.

Before Monday's series opener at Globe Life Field, Cameron, 24, ran into the center-field wall during warmups and hurt the big toe on his right foot. Goodrum, 29, had been on the injured list since June 19 with a left finger tendon.

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Detroit Tigers third baseman Niko Goodrum (28) is looked at by the team trainer during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium, June 18, 2021.
Detroit Tigers third baseman Niko Goodrum (28) is looked at by the team trainer during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium, June 18, 2021.

On Tuesday, Goodrum started in center field for the Mud Hens.

The Tigers could have called up center fielder Derek Hill, but he is also dealing with a toe injury in Toledo. Although Hill returned to Tuesday's Triple-A lineup, the organization wants to give him more time to make sure he's "moving at the level in which we would expect him to move around" before considering a promotion.

Hinch said Goodrum will split his time between the infield and outfield, rather than just playing shortstop and second base. In 59 games, Goodrum is hitting .216 with five home runs, 17 RBIs, 20 walks and 80 strikeouts, along with seven errors at shortstop.

"We were putting him in the outfield, anticipating at least a more utility-type role, bouncing him around the field how we originally planned on using him," Hinch said. "Zack Short has done a nice job at shortstop. We wanted to explore that again with Niko, so we'll see how it goes."

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers updates for Spencer Turnbull, Niko Goodrum