Zumaya could begin throwing next week
The Tigers left Carlos Guillen and Joel Zumaya behind as they departed Lakeland Tuesday morning, but there’s some renewed hope that he’ll be back in a reasonable amount of time. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Zumaya is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday in hopes of being cleared to resume throwing.
The plan when Dr. Andrews prescribed a couple weeks of rest was that Zumaya would see the good doctor again before throwing again, once the inflammation subsided. Three weeks have passed, but the Tigers have made it a point to play it cautious on their hard-throwing setup man.
Zumaya continues to work on a strengthening program back in Lakeland.
“He’s doing very well,” Rand said of Zumaya. “His range of motion has improved. His strength has improved.”
Zumaya hasn’t thrown off a mound since his only Spring Training outing Feb. 27, so he’s going to have to go through the throwing progression (play catch, long toss, bullpen sessions) before getting back into game action, either in extended Spring Training or on a rehab assignment.
Still, given the way Leyland has mentioned the challenge of replacing Zumaya in the bullpen, the sooner they can get him back, the better. Even if they didn’t take for granted he’d be back, losing him for the start of the season made a big difference in the makeup of the bullpen. Replace, say, Brayan Villarreal with Zumaya, and the seventh inning looks vastly different.
Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday morning that Zumaya and Guillen will be officially placed on the disabled list Wednesday. They’re expected to go on the 15-day DL, rather than the 60-day version. They’ll also make room on the 40-man roster Wednesday for Enrique Gonzalez, who made the team as a reliever after coming to camp as a non-roster invitee.