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07/23/08 8:15 PM ET
Turnbow heads to Phoenix for tests
Brewers righty looking for answers on his pitching arm
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Former Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow's troubled season hit a new low this week when he was placed on the Triple-A disabled list and shipped to the team's training facility in Phoenix. On Thursday, Turnbow will undergo a full range of diagnostic tests, including an MRI scan, to determine if there are any structural problems with his right arm. "He came back from the All-Star break complaining that he is physically not right, so we decided to go back to square one," said Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, who is in Nashville with the team's top Minor League affiliate and chatted with Turnbow on Tuesday. "Shut it down, send him back to Arizona and start from the ground up." If Turnbow is deemed physically able, he will spend the next few weeks with the team's Arizona League team. He makes his offseason home near Phoenix. It's the second demotion this season for Turnbow, an All-Star with Milwaukee in 2006 who has struggled with command throughout this season. He was designated for assignment by the Brewers in May after walking 13 batters in his first 6 1/3 innings and posting a 15.63 ERA. Turnbow then went 2-2 with a 10.50 ERA at Nashville. In 18 Minor League innings, Turnbow struck out 28 but issued 41 walks. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin pointed out that Turnbow is not the only pitcher slogging through a poor season. The Tigers' Dontrelle Willis signed a $29 million contract extension before the season, then issued 21 walks in 11 2/3 innings before a demotion to the Class A Florida State League. The Cubs' Rich Hill, an 11-game winner last season, points to back spasms as part of the reason he walked 18 men in 19 2/3 innings this season before a demotion to the Minors. Like Turnbow, Hill was sent as low as the Cubs' training facility in Mesa, Ariz. "This is not just a problem for Derrick Turnbow," Melvin said. Turnbow appeared to be turning it around of late, allowing only one run in six outings prior to a July 12 appearance, but he was charged with five runs in that game while recording only one out. Turnbow allowed one hit and walked four batters, including two walks with the bases loaded. Sounds closer Luis Pena then allowed three runners who were Turnbow's responsibility to score. Turnbow was replaced Tuesday on the Nashville roster by left-hander Troy Cate, who started the year in the A's organization and was signed by the Brewers out of the independent Golden League. Cate was the losing pitcher in Tuesday's 5-2 loss to Tacoma, allowing four hits and two runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.