November 17th, 2008

Garcia/Zumaya updates

Free agent Freddy Garcia’s winter campaign began Monday with around 60 pitches in a game in Venezuela’s parallel league, essentially their farm system. How his arm feels from that outing will likely determine when the veteran right-hander pitches in the main league, which is what Major League teams are waiting to see. A few teams have expressed preliminary interest, but a healthy winter ball campaign will be important for him.

Garcia hadn’t pitched in a game since his six innings of one-run ball in the Tigers’ season finale Sept. 29. He left that outing with some tightness around his shoulder. While tests showed no major cause for concern, his winter ball entrance was pushed back a few times from late October to the start of November to now.

The Tigers continue to track Garcia, who made three September starts for them after signing a Minor League contract in August to complete his comeback from shoulder surgery.

As for Zumaya, he has now been cleared to start rehab exercises on his shoulder. He’s pain-free and he has full range of motion, but the Tigers medical staff wants him to regain strength in his shoulder with the exercises before he begins a throwing program. The lack of pain and full range of motion are encouraging, but again, the Tigers want to be cautious after his past setbacks.