Mechanics key for Marlins' Turner this spring
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Grapefruit League has not been kind to Jacob Turner in the past. With the Tigers in 2012 and the Marlins in '13, Turner recorded a 10.06 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP in seven combined starts over 17 innings.
Turner's struggles with Miami last spring resulted in the right-hander beginning the season with Triple-A New Orleans. One year later, he is determined to be in a Major League uniform when Opening Day comes on March 31.
After two tough spring starts, does Turner feel like he is in a better place in 2014? His answer was simple: "Yeah."
"I've just got my mechanics underneath me right now," Turner said. "My fastball command to this point has been good. Everything else kind of works on that, so hopefully the next start and the start after that, just start mixing in more breaking balls and get some hitters off-balance."
The 22-year old made his second start of Spring Training on Saturday afternoon in a 6-6 tie in nine innings against the Braves at Champion Stadium. Turner threw 54 pitches in 2 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk.
"I felt good," Turner said. "Obviously, I gave up a lot of hits. Results-wise, you don't want to see that, but I made a lot of good pitches that either found a hole or they put a good swing on."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said before the game that he wanted to see Turner continue to build his arm strength and tap into his performance against the Astros last Monday, when he gave up only two hits and struck out two in two innings.
Redmond did not believe Turner was as sharp as he was during his previous outing, but he said that the length of the first three innings perhaps played a role. Miami put 12 men on base and plated six runs in the lineup's first three turns against Atlanta.
Five different Marlins drew walks in a third inning that catcher Rob Brantly capped with a three-run double off the wall in right-center field.
"It was one of those games where he sat down," Redmond said. "Those first couple of innings were slow. There wasn't a great rhythm out there really either side, so that could've affected him a little bit, but he got through it."
An errant pickoff attempt in the first inning also lengthened Turner's outing.
He tried to catch Braves outfielder Jason Heyward off first base, but his throw was low and Marlins first baseman Jeff Baker couldn't pick the ball out of the dirt. Heyward advanced to second on the play and scored on a Justin Upton double.
"The biggest thing was not picking Heyward off first," Turner said. "I think I just got too quick with the throw and made an error there."
Upton scored on a Ryan Doumit single in the first to increase Atlanta's lead to 2-0, but Turner managed to avoid any damage done from the runners he put on base in the second and third innings.
Turner stranded two Braves on base in the second, and he combined with left-hander Andrew Heaney to escape the third inning unscathed despite putting the first two batters on base.
"I felt like I made a lot of good pitches, but unfortunately, I gave up a lot of hits today," Turner said. "Definitely some stuff to build upon going into the next start."