Turnbow adjusting to adversity

Turnbow adjusting to adversity

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Brewers reliever Derrick Turnbow struggled last year, it usually was because he failed to make in-game adjustments. But that's just what Turnbow did Saturday to avoid damage against the Giants.

Turnbow, whose first warm-up pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning sailed to the backstop, surrendered a hit and a walk to the first two hitters he faced at Scottsdale Stadium. Such a start last year would have sent up red flags flying, but after a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux, Turnbow induced a Rich Aurilia double play, then whiffed Daniel Ortmeier to end the inning.

"Maddux and I worked on some things mechanically this week, so I went out there and tried it the first couple of batters," Turnbow said. "Once a couple of guys got on, and I fell behind the next guy, he came out there and told me, 'Forget about it. Just rear back and throw.' Once I did that, I got back on track."

He impressed manager Ned Yost in the process.

"You must be able to make adjustments," Yost said. "In the last couple of outings, he has started to waver a little bit and he has made adjustments. That's a big sign."

Turnbow, who was pleased with his slider Saturday for the first time this spring, originally was scheduled to pitch an inning in Minor League camp on Sunday for his first back-to-back appearances this spring. But Maddux offered a chance to go back-to-back in big league games instead, and Turnbow opted for that instead.

He said he will pitch on Monday against the Rockies and Tuesday against the Dodgers.

"I would rather pitch in the big league games," said Turnbow. "It's a test of everything. Mainly, you want to see how your arm responds. If you go out there back-to-back and you're not terribly sore, you know you're ready to go."

Turnbow pitched the first full inning after starter Claudio Vargas exited. Vargas, working on three days' rest for the second straight outing, as Maddux and Yost line up the rotation before Opening Day, and fighting to find a feel for his changeup, surrendered four runs and needed 83 pitches to get through 3 2/3 innings. The Brewers went on to lose, 8-1.

If he stayed on an every-five-day schedule beginning on Saturday, Vargas would line up as Milwaukee's fifth starter and would pitch the team's sixth game, on April 6 against the Giants at Miller Park.

"They haven't told me [anything] and I don't ask," Vargas said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.