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Spencer Turnbull leaves with shoulder pain; what next in the Phillies rotation? – NBC SportPhiladelphia

Spencer Turnbull had to leave the final game of the Phillies series in Detroit after three innings on Wednesday for the first time since April 30 due to an injury to his right shoulder.

It’s troubling news for a team that started the week by placing Taijuan Walker on the 15-day injured list with a blister that prevented him from properly gripping and throwing his splitter.

Given the circumstances with Turnbull – his return to the rotation and his return to Detroit to face the only team he had known before the Phillies – the shoulder had to be quite sore. He threw 36 pitches and felt pain on the 35th, a curveball.

“I just felt a little grab in the back of my triceps, shoulder and lat area,” he told reporters after the match. “The last curveball got a little tight on me. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but I wanted to tell them when I felt it. I didn’t want to do anything to make it worse. Hopefully I’m okay. We’ll get there out.” They were looking at tomorrow, but I think I’m doing fine.

“I don’t know what it is about this place here (Detroit). It seems like I can’t stay sane here, maybe it’s cursed. It seems like I can’t stay sane here, so I’m glad to get out of here I’m going back to Philly and hopefully I’ll feel better in the morning.”

Turnbull was drafted by the Tigers in 2014, made the Majors four years later and started 30 games in 2019. He threw a no-hitter in May 2021, but was sidelined a month later, underwent Tommy John surgery and didn’t pitch again. in the major leagues until April last year. He spent two long stretches on the injured list with neck issues during a frustrating 2023 season that ended with a non-tender.

The 31-year-old right-hander will be tested on Thursday.

“We’ll know more tomorrow when we know what’s going on and how he’s feeling,” manager Rob Thomson said. “He felt a grab on his shoulder and I didn’t want to take any chances. I went to the bullpen and the bullpen did a great job.”

The Phillies won the game 6-2 and improved the series to 53-27. Brandon Marsh went 4-for-4 with a homer, three hits and four RBI.

The Phillies have the best 1 through 4 in baseball, but don’t have much pitching depth outside of their core four and the 5-6 of Walker and Turnbull. Most teams don’t.

Walker’s replacement on the active roster this week was lanky 25-year-old right-hander Michael Mercado, who was called up from Triple A after pitching to a 1.71 ERA in 47⅓ innings. Mercado made his big league debut on Monday in the Phillies’ 8-1 win, going 1-2-3 in the eighth inning with a strikeout. He flashed a 96-97 mph fastball, a low-80s curveball and a high-80s cutter.

Mercado was stretched to six innings and 91 pitches in his most recent start at Lehigh Valley. That was just eight days ago, so it would make sense to start in Turnbull’s place if Turnbull can’t get the ball next time.

“I think the leading candidate would be Mercado if we had to do something,” Thomson said. “He’s not that far away from his last start, so he’s still stretched and I’m confident about that.”

The Phillies could also skip the fifth spot in their rotation because they have Monday off. The next time the No. 5 spot would be needed is Saturday, July 6, after which they may have more clarity with Turnbull or Walker.

If both Turnbull and Walker miss multiple starts, the Phillies won’t have many options besides Mercado. Max Castillo and Kolby Allard are on the 40-man roster but haven’t pitched well in Triple-A. That also goes for Mick Abel, who has a 7.08 ERA and isn’t yet on the 40-man roster.

The Phillies are 26 games above .500 with a 7½-game lead over the Braves in the NL East, but unless they get good news about Turnbull and Walker in the coming days, they may have to consider adding a cheap starter on loan before the July 30 trade deadline (a la Michael Lorenzen a year ago). They don’t need a fifth starter in October, but they do need one in the regular season to avoid unnecessarily taxing their bullpen.