Zumaya to see Dr. Andrews
Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya will visit noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews Thursday morning for a diagnosis and a list of his options after he experienced more soreness in his ailing right shoulder.
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said surgery is a possibility, but not a certainty, to clear up the bone shard in Zumaya’s shoulder from the stress fracture that developed last year.
“It’s going to be more of a diagnostic [visit] than a physical examination,” Rand said.
In other words, Zumaya seems to be back at the point where he was a week and a half ago, when shoulder pain forced him onto the disabled list after an outing against the Yankees. Together. Dr. Andrews and Zumaya have to decide whether he still has a shot to pitch again this year without surgery, or if he should just go ahead and have it now. Zumaya said last week that he would consider surgery if his shoulder soreness didn’t clear up.
Zumaya took two cortisone shots last week to quiet the swelling in his shoulder so the team medical staff could see how he felt when he threw. He had light sessions of catch last Saturday and Monday, Rand said, but complained of soreness again Tuesday.
Dr. Andrews has been consulting with Zumaya on his shoulder ever since he was diagnosed with a stress fracture last August. He advised Zumaya last year that he could work his way back to pitching again without surgery, that his fracture is a condition many football quarterbacks came through.
Zumaya came back better than expected in late April, throwing fastballs at his old velocity at 100 mph and above. For that reason, Zumaya said last week, he wasn’t overly concerned when he had shoulder soreness a few weeks ago. Once it became more severe during that outing at Yankees Stadium, Zumaya told the team medical staff.
If Zumaya opts for surgery now, it would almost surely end his season. Zumaya said last week that recovery takes about eight weeks, which would take up nearly the rest of the regular season. If he doesn’t have it now, he expects to have it when the season ends.