We’ll wait for some firm details and the referenced second opinion before going anywhere with this, but pitcher elbows always make you nervous:
#Cubs Jacob Turner has mild right flexor strain and bone bruise in elbow. He will get 2nd opinion
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 10, 2015
Jacob Turner had MRI that revealed flexor strain and bone bruise in elbow. No ligament damage. To be shut down. DL to open season.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) March 10, 2015
The structures of the elbow are often interrelated such that, simply because a guy does not have a UCL injury does not necessarily mean surgery is not going to be the end result. Of course, the opposite is true, too: some elbow injuries are relatively minor, and do not require a long, debilitating surgery and recovery process.
So far, the UCL appears to be undamaged, which would be the silver lining here. The downside, of course, is the likely DL stint to open the year, and the uncertain future for the 23-year-old Turner.
At least as far as early April is concerned, Turner is now out of the running for that 5th starter spot (as Tsuyoshi Wada may be, as well, if he falls too far behind). Depth is a good thing, and the Cubs do still have more. But it’s looking like the main competitors in the fifth starter competition right now are Travis Wood (who starts again today), Edwin Jackson, and Felix Doubront.
Hopefully Turner just needs a couple weeks off, and can begin building back up his arm strength from there. Then, when he’s ready at some point in April or May, maybe it’s clear what the Cubs will be doing with him, in terms of the rotation or the bullpen. We’ll just have to wait and see.