Tigers in wait-and-see mode with Zumaya
The Tigers are waiting to see how Joel Zumaya’s injured right shoulder responds in the coming days before deciding whether he can come back in the next couple weeks or undergo season-ending surgery.
Zumaya and team medical officials talked Tuesday with Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedic surgeon who has examined Zumaya over the last year or so. Zumaya didn’t travel for an exam, but the Tigers forwarded test results to Dr. Andrews to review.
The condition is the same as last winter, when he was diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his shoulder. The sliver of bone hanging from the fracture aggravated his shoulder when he pitched Friday against the Yankees, though head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said it wasn’t as bad as a year ago.
Zumaya said he took two cortisone injections in his shoulder to reduce the swelling and resulting pain. Once the pain is out, they’ll see how he feels throwing and how well he throws, then make a decision from there.
Even if he’s fine, Zumaya said, he expects to have surgery to fix the fracture. The only question is whether he has to have it now or if it can wait until the offseason. The surgery will keep him out around eight weeks, Zumaya said, so to have it now would likely cost him the season, though he would be back in plenty of time to get ready for Spring Training.
If he doesn’t need the surgery yet, he could conceivably have a minimum stay on the 15-day disabled list, which would put him back in action as soon as August 2.
“If we can get [the pain] down in a reasonable enough time, him being not down from throwing for a long period of time, we’ll have a chance then that he wouldn’t down for any length,” Rand said. “Because he is a bullpen guy.”
Zumaya said he started feeling soreness in his shoulder about four weeks ago, but didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t major, and he was still able to fire fastballs around 100 mph. Not until Friday, he said, did it really flare up.
He’s still sore now, but a good part of that comes from the initial pain of the cortisone shots. Once that wears off, the Tigers can start figuring out just how well and how comfortably he can throw. If he opts against surgery, he can have one more cortisone surgery at some point this season.
Zumaya, for his part, was upbeat Tuesday, which should be a good sign.