Jacob Turner came to Major League camp this year looking to land a spot in Detroit's rotation. A spring limited by shoulder tendinitis, though, has the Tigers sending their top prospect to Triple-A to begin the season.
Detroit optioned the 20-year-old right-hander to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens on Monday after a spring in which Turner pitched just four innings before developing pain in his right shoulder two weeks ago.
The decision was made by Tigers president/GM Dave Dombrowski.
"Dave said it's time to get him over there [to Minor League camp] and get him going," manager Jim Leyland told MLB.com. "He'll be a starting pitcher in Toledo. If he's 100 percent healthy, then why pitch him one inning in relief over here?"
Turner seemed like a good bet to crack the rotation after making three starts for the Tigers last year. Detroit's No 1 prospect and MLB.com's 15th overall, breezed through Double-A Erie and made his Major League debut against the Angels on July 30. He went 1-0 for the Mud Hens with a 3.12 ERA, 20 strikeouts and just three walks over 17 innings in three starts at Toledo in August before rejoining Detroit in September.
Turner will work out at the team's Minor League complex for the remainder of the spring. He finished his time in the big league camp with an 11.25 ERA, two strikeouts and six walks over three appearances.
"He needs to go pitch," Leyland told MLB.com. "He's a young pitcher with a huge, huge ceiling, so me seeing him one more inning in Spring Training right now doesn't mean anything."
Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry, who impressed with his speed and defense as a non-roster invitee, was sent to Minor League camp, along with right-hander Chris Bootcheck, first baseman Ryan Strieby and infielders Audy Ciriaco and Argenis Diaz.
"I didn't know [Berry], really, to be honest with you, before he came into camp," Leyland told MLB.com. "He made a heck of an impression."