April 22nd, 2009

Another two-strikeout inning for Zumaya

The numbers on Joel Zumaya from his rehab outing with Triple-A Toledo Wednesday night look pretty similar to Tuesday with a scoreless inning and two strikeouts. He gave up a hit this time, a two-out double down the left-field line off a mid-90s fastball, but ended the threat with a called third strike on Chris Barnwell.

Zumaya threw 13 of his 18 pitches for strikes.

Where he goes from here has yet to be announced. The Tigers will evaluate him once they’re sure he feels OK tomorrow, but his ability to pitch effectively on back-to-back days has always been seen as the last step to make sure he’s ready for the big leagues again.

Thames is going to be out a while

The follow-up news on Marcus Thames is not good. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand called it a “fairly significant left rib cage muscle strain,” severe enough that the muscle, cartilage and rib all got pulled. That’s why Thames felt a pop when he swung, and then had to catch his breath.

No firm timetable for a return, but Rand said Thames can’t do any physical activity for the next until he’s pain free, an estimated 2-4 weeks.

“He’s such a big part of our team,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I think he’s going to be out a while.”

Raburn arrived from Toledo early this afternoon and is in the starting lineup, batting eighth and playing right field. Magglio Ordonez will be the designated hitter tonight. Look for the rotation of guys at DH to pick up while Thames is out, moreso than the Tigers had already been doing.

“I can go a lot of different ways with it,” Leyland said.

To fill the void at Toledo from Raburn’s call-up, the Tigers acquired the contract of journeyman outfielder Jason Tyner from the Brewers organization.

Thames to DL, Raburn called up

Dave Dombrowski announced immediately after the game that Marcus Thames is going onto the DL. He pulled a muscle around his rib cage doing extra hitting before the game tonight and wasn’t available. That’s why Adam Everett was pinch-hitting in the 9th. Ryan Raburn is being recalled from Toledo and will be available Wednesday.

Thames said after the game that he took a swing during early BP when he felt something pop. It’s different than the abdominal muscle that he pulled in Spring Training, because this latest injury is higher up along his left side.

“I knew it was something that couldn’t be good,” Thames said, “because it took the breath away from me a little bit.”

He and the Tigers were awaiting results of an MRI exam to confirm the
severity of the injury, whether it’s a pulled muscle or something worse, and what kind of timetable Thames is looking at for a recovery. Whatever it is, Thames was clearly frustrated after the game, because he was working hard to try to get his swing going.

“It is what it is,” Thames said. “I can’t control it. It’s tough luck right now for me. It hasn’t been a good last two months for me.”