"He's a little bit of a wild card. Without Mike's endorsement, I don't know if he would have been the fit that he ultimately was but he's not far removed from being a very productive back-of-the-bullpen reliever."
That was assistant general manager Thad Levine speaking on the signing of a former resident of the Milwaukee bullpen, Derrick Turnbow. The Rangers beat out another club, the Florida Marlins, in acquiring his services -- but at what cost? It's a little more complicated than just simply a pitcher with control problems in Turnbow: the righty basically was dealing with a muscular imbalance in his shoulder that altered and disrupted his mechanics. The Brewers have had him on a strength and conditioning program since last summer and he's been doing some throwing in the off-season.
A muscular imbalance. Yikes. This is not just your run-of-the-mill loss of confidence on the mound we're dealing with. For Quote of the Week 1b, we turn to Turnbow's agent, Damon Lapa, and his description of his client's ailment to Richard Durrett of the Dallas Morning News last Thursday:
"The way it's been described to me is that based on the strength tests he had in 2006 and the ones in 2008, (his shoulder) was 20 percent of what it was in 2006. That led to an inability for Derrick to repeat his mechanics on a consistent basis. And then that led to tinkering, changes in his wind-up, changes in his mechanics and that led to inconsistent location and all kind of changes in velocity."
I'm a little freaked out by this. Not "Steve Blass Disease" freaked out, but freaked out nonetheless.
Still, the Rangers have been no strangers to the low-risk player acquisition over the years and Turnbow is no different. They've had some successes (Willie Eyre -- Joey's arch-nemesis is one name that comes to mind), along with some eyeball-gouging failures (Brad Fullmer) in the past. But with the watchful eye and tutelage of his pitching coach in Milwaukee overseeing things in Arlington combined with a strenuous rehab program, then hey, maybe he can return to being the guy who went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 39 saves in 2005.