February 12th, 2007
And no, it has nothing to do with him still playing Guitar Hero (though that’s interesting too). Rather, the New York Times did a piece on non-traditional workout regimens such as some elements of yoga and how they’ve helped pitchers, including Zumaya at a studio run by former college pitcher Alan Jaeger. In fact, it’s a pretty ringing endorsement:
Today, one of baseball’s most durable arms belongs to the Giants’ Barry Zito, who started training with Jaeger in college. One of baseball’s most electric arms belongs to the Tigers’ Joel Zumaya, who used to drive six hours round trip to see Jaeger in the off-season.
“Zito, Zumaya and Zen,” Jaeger said. “Those are powerful Z’s.”
Later, the story says Zumaya credits Jaeger for adding five miles per hour to his fastball. It also says that Zumaya ran down the tunnel prior to his big-league debut last April in Kansas City so that he could do his breathing exercises.
Even without the Zumaya stuff, the story presents a good debate about how to work out pitching arms. The idea of yoga as an exercise is nothing new in baseball, or with the Tigers, but normally you hear about it more with veteran players trying to stay healthy or rehab injuries. The players listed in the story grasped the idea while they were coming up.