A consistent, durable starter who pitched over 200 innings six times, Terrell was a mainstay in the Detroit Tigers rotation from 1985 until 1988. He won 15 or more games three times, including a career-high 17 victories in 1987.
Originally in the Texas Rangers system, Terrell was traded to the New York Mets with Ron Darling for Lee Mazzilli in 1982, and was the International League Pitcher of the Year at Tidewater in 1983, going 10-1 with 3.12 ERA. After an 11-12 season with the Mets in 1984, he was traded to the Tigers for Howard Johnson.
Terrell won 79 games in six seasons for Detroit. He posted a weak 7-16 record in 1988, but that was primarily due to poor offensive support from his teammates. He was traded to the San Diego Padres for Chris Brown and Keith Moreland on October 28, 1988.