Results tagged ‘ Joel Zumaya ’

Zumaya checks out OK, rest another week

An examination from Dr. James Andrews found no major tructural damage in Joel Zumaya’s right elbow, bringing no doubt a sigh of relief from the Tigers reliever. The recommendation was at least another week without throwing in order to strengthen the arm.

The results reinforce the initial results taken last week, after scar tissue broke apart from the surgically repaired area of the elbow. What was expected to be a few days of rest has now gone more than a week, as inflammation hasn’t completely gone away. Zumaya won’t be cleared to throw until he’s completely pain free.

Zumaya out a couple days after scar tissue broke

Joel Zumaya’s comeback from elbow surgery is on hold for a couple days, but it isn’t expected to be a major absence. The Tigers reliever is day-to-day after scar tissue broke apart around his elbow.

Zumaya said the injury happened in the middle of his inning of work Sunday against the Blue Jays. He felt the tissue snap on a two-out pitch to Jose Molina, who singled to extend the fifth inning, but stayed in the game and threw his normal arsenal to retire Moises Sierra.

“Just a little scar tissue,” Zumaya said. “They’re just going to give me a couple days.”

An MRI exam and x-rays confirmed the diagnosis. The tests were precautionary, as the scar tissue was expected to break apart at some point.

“We checked it out medically,” Leyland said, “and there was nothing more than a little inflammation. I’m not sure when he’s going to pitch, but there were absolutely no red flags whatsoever.”

Zumaya missed the final three months last season after fracturing the olecranon bone of his right elbow on a late June pitch at Minnesota. Ensuing surgery inserted a screw around the fracture to ensure healing. The scar tissue that broke was around the screw.

“I don’t think that’s uncommon at all,” Leyland said. “According to the trainers, that’s not uncommon. But who knows?”

Still, any absence for Zumaya creates concern, which might be why Leyland hesitated briefly before mentioning it. The hard-throwing reliever has missed much of the past four seasons since his standout rookie campaign in 2006 established him as a young reliever to watch.

Zumaya is a free agent next winter, which makes this a big season for him. If he can get through anywhere close to a full year, he could help the Tigers to a big season as well, adding a potentially nasty reliever behind setup man Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde.

This marks Zumaya’s first absence of any kind this spring. His pitching so far has been strong. One radar gun tabbed him at 97 mph Sunday with his fastball, which he said he threw without full effort while mixing in several breaking balls.

Leyland not expecting Guillen to be ready

The Tigers’ winter caravan is off and running here at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, where the Mud Hens are holding their annual Fandemonium event. That includes an appearance from manager Jim Leyland, who talked a little bit about the team. Among the topics:

  • Carlos Guillen — “I don’t think he’s going to be ready to start the season,” Leyland said. “I don’t think [so], but I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.” That doesn’t mean he doubts Guillen is going to be healthy. But Leyland doesn’t expect Guillen far enough long in Spring Training to open the season at second base. “We’re hoping he’s going to be part of the mix at second. He could be a big key for us. He won’t be until he’s ready to play, obviously. But out of all the positions, that’s one where we’re pretty comfortable because we’re pretty solid. I mean, we’ve got some choices — Rhymes, Worth, Sizemore, Santiago. Raburn could play second if he had to. We’re pretty deep there, really.”
  • I followed up with some folks after Leyland’s remarks, and the impression I get is that nothing has changed in Guillen’s status since last month, when Tigers people sounded more optimistic. It sounds like the Tigers are proceeding cautiously because of the nature of the surgery and how rare it is in baseball. If Guillen does have a setback or falls a little bit behind schedule and can’t play in games until the final week or two of Spring Training, they don’t want to be caught unprepared.
  • Third catcher — Leyland wants to make sure somebody is ready for that role, because it’s going to come up late in close games when Alex Avila is on base and Leyland debates whether to use a pinch-runner. To that end, Leyland said Don Kelly is going to catch a little bit this Spring Training. They don’t want him to play much, but they also want him as a little more than an emergency catcher.
  • Pitching coach Rick Knapp said Joel Zumaya is already throwing in Lakeland, has been for a little while, and is on track. Again, the Tigers are being cautious, but they can’t hide their optimism. “I’m praying to God [he] holds up, because he could be a huge weapon for us.”
  • Leyland doesn’t know yet who will hit second in the order. It partly depends on who ends up starting at second base to begin the season. Leyland did say he would like a little bit of speed there.
  • Casper Wells said his left knee, the one he tweaked near the end of his winter ball season in the Dominican, is fine. He should be ready to go.

Tigers avoid arbitration with Zumaya

The Tigers agreed to terms on Friday on a one-year, $1.4 million contract with reliever Joel Zumaya, inking another of their arbitration eligibles as they try to wrap up their offseason to-do list.

The deal has been expected for a while. Zumaya said earlier this offseason he wasn’t going to be greedy as he looked for a contract. With free agency coming for him next winter, he knows his big pay should come shortly if he can come through with a healthy 2011 season.

That, of course, has been the problem. His elbow fracture on the mound in a game last June ended his 2010 season at 31 appearances, yet it was his highest total since his rookie season of 2006. Zumaya went 2-1 with a 2.58 ERA and one save, striking out 34 batters over 38 1/3 innings. He made $915,000 last year, but just missed a $20,000 bonus had he pitched in 35 games.

When healthy, Zumaya has the chance to be a valuable piece in the bullpen, even with the depth the Tigers have built up in their relief corps this winter. His ability to get swings and misses in big situations with a fastball around 100 mph is extremely difficult to replace, and his willingness to work on his secondary pitches bodes well for improvement. He also has the potential to work two innings, which could make him a must-have bridge between Tigers starters and their late-inning tandem of setup man Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde.

Zumaya’s deal leaves Armando Galarraga as the lone arbitration-eligible Tiger who has yet to sign. Given his resume, plus the Tigers’ recent agreement with Brad Penny, his situation might take a while to resolve.

The Tigers have not gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since Dave Dombrowski took over general manager duties in 2002.

Miner non-tendered; Zumaya, Galarraga stay

The only nontender from the Tigers today is reliever Zach Miner, whose fate was set in that regard when he was designated for assignment on Monday. Detroit will indeed tender contracts to Joel Zumaya and Armando Galarraga.

Tigers expected to tender contract to Zumaya

The speculation surrounding Joel Zumaya’s future with the Tigers seems to be reaching a conclusion. Not only is the team expected to tender a contract to their hard-throwing, oft-injured reliever, they could reach a deal sooner rather than later.

Joel Zumaya said by phone Tuesday morning that his agents have started talks with the Tigers about a contract, presumably a one-year deal that would take him into free agency next winter. Even if a deal doesn’t come together in the next couple days, Thursday’s deadline to tender contracts shouldn’t come into play. Zumaya, who has been wondering about his situation himself after reading reports, indicated he was told the Tigers have no intention of nontendering him.

The Tigers haven’t yet announced their nontender decisions, which basically come down to Zumaya and starter Armando Galarraga, and they probably won’t until sometime Thursday. But a look at the situation breaks down like this: While there’s a risk to paying a million dollars or so to somebody who hasn’t had a full, healthy season since 2006, there’s another risk of watching Zumaya finally put together a healthy season for another team, reaping the benefits of all the time the Tigers put in getting him healthy.

When asked how much interest Zumaya would attract on the open market if the Tigers nontendered him, one Major League talent evaluator put it this way: “More than some think.”

Zumaya to have screw inserted in shoulder

Turns out Joel Zumaya will need surgery on his elbow after all, but it isn’t expected to push back his timetable for a return next spring. Zumaya will have a screw inserted to stabilize his fractured olecranon at the tip of the elbow. Dr. Stephen Lemos will perform the surgery next Monday at Detroit Medical Center.

Zumaya out for year with fracture in elbow

MINNEAPOLIS — Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya will miss the rest of the season with what the team called a non-displaced fracture of the olecranon, a bony process at the tip of his right elbow.

An MRI exam and X-rays taken at a local hospital revealed the injury, which he suffered on an eighth-inning pitch Monday night against the Twins at Target Field. Zumaya grabbed at his elbow and eventually collapsed in pain behind the mound before the Tigers athletic training staff helped him off the field.

It’ll mean a fourth straight injury-shortened season for Zumaya, whose struggles to come back and regain his form as baseball’s hardest-throwing reliever have been going on since he was a rookie sensation in the Tigers’ run to the American League pennant in 2006.

A 99 mph fastball to Delmon Young in the eighth inning of the Tigers’ 7-5 win over the Twins sent Zumaya clutching his right elbow and shaking his hand. Suddenly, as if the pain suddenly hit him, he knelt to the ground in apparent agony.

The fact that it’s a non-displaced fracture raises the possibility that he could recover without surgery. That would improve his odds of a comeback as well as his timetable for recovery.

The Tigers placed Zumaya on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday morning. Casey Fien will take his place in the Tigers bullpen for now while the team waits on Ryan Perry’s return from bicipital shoulder tendinitis.

Zumaya update: Elbow injury, MRI Tuesday

Word from the Tigers is that it’s an elbow injury for Joel Zumaya. They’re going to wait for Zumaya’s MRI exam Tuesday to talk about the severity. But obviously, as Jim Leyland said, “It doesn’t look good.”

I saw Zumaya come out of the training room and go to his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Target Field. His right arm was in a sling. He said he’d talk with reporters tomorrow.
Zumaya has a long injury history, as everybody knows, but until now his elbow has been sound. Catcher Gerald Laird said he heard “a little pop” when Zumaya threw the pitch. That can mean a few different things, so I wouldn’t want to speculate on ligament or dislocation.
No word on any possible roster move yet. Leyland and Dave Dombrowski were expected to meet tonight to go over possible options. They do have a spot open on the 40-man roster, and they do have the option of recalling Jay Sborz from Toledo. Normally the rules say you have to wait 10 days, but an injury replacement for a DL move is an exception. Leyland indicated it will not be Ryan Perry, who’s scheduled to throw his second rehab outing for the Mud Hens tomorrow.

Avila catches; Valverde, Zumaya rest

Remember the concern going a week or two ago about how many starts Jim Leyland would find for Alex Avila behind the plate? That seems to be dissipating now, because it’s becoming obvious Leyland is finding his spots. The fact that Gerald Laird is still looking for his first hit of the season might not hurt, but still, if Avila gets a couple games a week, they’re going to be happy.

If they can get Jose Valverde outings three days in a row, the Tigers are going to be happy too. But they aren’t going to go beyond that, which is why Valverde is off today. So are Joel Zumaya and Phil Coke. If there’s a save situation today, Leyland says Ryan Perry is going to get it. He does not have a Major League save yet.


  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, LF
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Avila, C
  8. Sizemore, 2B
  9. Everett, SS

P: Jeremy Bonderman