At long last, Jacob Turner will pitch in a minor league game in 2015. The still-just-24-year-old righty was getting buzz very early in Spring Training as a possible pleasant surprise for the Cubs this year, but then an elbow injury, and subsequent shoulder injury, shut him down. He’s been rehabbing in Arizona ever since.
According to eyes-on reports, he’s looked good in extended Spring Training games, and now he’ll begin a rehab assignment at AA Tennessee, pitching tonight. Generally speaking, pitchers have 30 days to complete a rehab assignment, which would mean the Cubs would have to make a decision on Turner – who is out of minor league options – by early July. Obviously a decision could come sooner, if he’s looking great and ready, but I wouldn’t expect anything too soon.
Turner came to the Cubs in a surprising deal last August when the Marlins ran out of roster space, and, while he didn’t turn things around late in the year for the Cubs, he still has considerable upside. Rushed to the majors thanks to a big league deal out of the draft with the Tigers, Turner never quite matched up his big league performance to the underlying talent.
While there’s no obvious spot on the big league club for Turner right now, a lot can happen in a month, especially if Turner is looking good. I’ll be watching him over the next month very closely, as it would be great to see him emerge as a legitimate back-end option or even bullpen option for the Cubs. The key word there being “option.” You just want to see the Cubs have options as we head into the dog days of summer.