Derrick Turnbow is so determined to win a spot on the Marlins’ pitching staff that the big toe on his left foot being “a bloody mess” yesterday didn’t stop him from throwing a bullpen session:
“My toenail jammed up in my shoe about a week ago and it caused it to swell up,” Turnbow said. “It got infected and it affected my command a lot the first two times I was out. I didn’t say anything. Today, it busted open and all the blood came out. It felt better immediately.”
Turnbow’s toe exploded just before he stepped onto the bullpen mound. The pitcher removed his left sock to allow a trainer to apply a bandage, then began throwing and feeling better than ever. Marlins outfielder Cody Ross described Turnbow’s toe as “disgusting” when the pitcher showed it to him recently.
And to think everyone made such a big deal about Curt Schilling’s bloody sock.
Now that his toe has “busted open” and “exploded” into “a bloody mess” Turnbow believes his control will improve, but his track record of historic wildness suggests otherwise. When healthy and throwing strikes Turnbow has overpowering raw stuff, but injuries and walks are why he barely pitched in 2008, was out of the majors in 2009, and is trying to win a job on a minor-league contract now.
Turnbow has the worst walk rate among all active pitchers with at least 250 career innings, handing out a ridiculous 5.87 free passes per nine innings. He’s given up almost as many walks (168) as hits (206) during his career, including 63 walks in 30.2 innings between the majors and minors over the past two seasons. Amazingly, exploding toes are the least of the 32-year-old right-hander’s problems.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.