Results tagged ‘ Joel Zumaya ’

Zumaya to have surgery, out for season

Just heard from the Tigers that Joel Zumaya will undergo surgery to remove the bone fragment from the stress fracture in his shoulder. It’s scheduled for mid-August and will cost him the rest of the season.

Dr. James Andrews examined Zumaya this morning in Pensacola, Fla., and gave him another cortisone shot to quiet the soreness he developed while playing catch a few days ago. The diagnosis was that it wasn’t going to get any better if he couldn’t get through playing catch pain-free.

Zumaya last week that the timetable on such a surgery would be eight weeks. So if there’s good news out of this, it’s that he’ll be ready to go through close to a full offseason regimen and be ready for next spring training. But of course, after three straight injury-shortened seasons, the Tigers can’t assume he’ll be back and healthy.

No word on how this affects Tigers trade talks. Orioles closer George Sherrill went to the Dodgers, but there are setup men available on the market that might be available for cheaper. if not, look for Brandon Lyon and Bobby Seay to continue in setup work, with Ryan Perry working his way into more close games.

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.

Bonderman headed for bullpen

The Tigers are looking at a late-season piece to bolster their bullpen. Turns out it’s Jeremy Bonderman.

It wasn’t long ago that Bonderman’s shoulder problems created serious doubts whether he could pitch again this season in the Tigers rotation. But the last few weeks, his progress has come quickly. He threw another mound session Thursday, his third, and he has another one scheduled for Saturday. No word yet on what the next step would be, but a rehab stint certainly doesn’t seem far off.

“There’s a possibility,” president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “And I think the possibility is more out of the bullpen than starting.”

It isn’t a permanent move, but it would be for the rest of the season. The idea, Bonderman said, would be to limit him to around 35 pitches. When Bonderman was out on his rehab assignment in May, it was when he began extending his pitch limits during his starts that his shoulder started feeling sore again.

Bonderman’s fine with that. He said he’s willing to do whatever to help the team. It’s also clear that he badly wants to pitch again as soon as possible.

The Tigers are also sounding an upbeat tone on Joel Zumaya, who is seeing how his arm responds after cortisone shots Monday in his ailing shoulder.

“If you asked today, they think he’ll be able to pitch relatively soon,” Dombrowski said.

Add those two situations together, and it looks like the Tigers will have bullpen help without turning to the trade market. Dombrowski didn’t erase the possibility of adding a reliever, but he also didn’t make it sound like a pressing need.

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.

Other injury news

Joel Zumaya, according to manager Jim Leyland, “doesn’t feel very good,” not a good sign after he injured his shoulder four days ago. He didn’t want to get into specifics other than the fact that the shoulder is still hurting. MRI results didn’t show anything structurally different with it compared to last time, but this is also a shoulder that hasn’t been completely healthy since last year. When he pitched through it this year, he did it with a stress fracture that doctors compared to what many NFL quarterbacks go through. At some point, Leyland said, they’re going to have to figure out how to get the shoulder right.

Nate Robertson said he made close to 100 throws from 120 feet on flat ground Tuesday, three weeks after he underwent surgery to remove four masses of tissue from his left elbow. He’s on track to start pitching off a mound soon, which would seemingly set him up for a rehab stint in August. The big test Robertson wants to feel is how his arm responds unrestricted once he starts pitching off a mound in side sessions.

“The big thing,” Robertson said, “will be building it back up and seeing how much [surgery] freed it up.”

Jeremy Bonderman, meanwhile, threw a 5-minute side session Tuesday and felt fine.

“I know it feels better,” Bonderman said of his arm. “Velocity, I have no idea, but it feels a lot better, a lot freer. Hopefully the third time’s the charm.”

About that Tiger bullpen today

Jim Leyland has a few more relievers available than you might think. He’ll rest Freddy Dolsi for the rest of the series, and he wouldn’t mind doing the same with Joel Zumaya, but everyone else is available. There was a big box of Cap’n Crunch in the pregame food spread just to make sure.

The one lineup decision made in light of last night’s marathon was at catcher, where Dusty Ryan will get the start. The Tigers will rest Gerald Laird, while Joe Mauer is the DH for the Twins. Both caught all 16 innings last night. In Laird’s case, he’s the first Tiger to catch that many innings in a game since Brandon Inge caught a 16-inning game and a 17-inning marathon in 2003.

Denard Span, meanwhile, is again in the Twins lineup, and Leyland is running out of ideas for how to pitch to him.

“We’ve tried everything,” Leyland said. “We just haven’t been able to get the guy out. Hopefully tomorrow’s another day. He hits .350 off left-handers, and he hits our right-handers, too. We just haven’t been able to get the guy out for whatever reason.

“I don’t know. I’m thinking about throwing [him] the blooper pitch. I’m dead serious, too. I’m not kidding you. I’m thinking about trying to get in his head a little bit and have a guy throw a blooper ball. We did it with Sheffield one time. I’m seriously thinking about it. Throw the old blooper ball, let him wind up, trying to hit it out of the park, maybe get him out of sync for a little bit. Because he kills us. We just don’t get him out.”


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. Thames, DH
  5. Raburn, LF
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Ordonez, RF
  8. Ryan, C
  9. Everett, SS

P: Edwin Jackson


  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Brendan Harris, SS
  3. Joe Mauer, DH
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Jason Kubel, LF
  6. Michael Cuddyer, RF
  7. Brian Buscher, 3B
  8. Jose Morales, C
  9. Nick Punto, 2B

P: Francisco Liriano

Zumaya to rejoin Tigers this weekend

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Thursday afternoon that reliever Joel Zumaya will rejoin the club this weekend at Kansas City, indicating he’ll be activated and back in the bullpen to face the Royals.

Leyland didn’t know which specific day, other than it probably wouldn’t be in time for Friday’s series opener.

“They say he’s ready,” Leyland said.

Thus, after opening the year on the disabled list with what was listed as a sore right shoulder following his season-ending stress fracture last August, Zumaya will be ready for his first outing of the year. He made a handful of rehab appearances at Class A Lakeland and Triple-A Toledo.

Pitching on back-to-back days was widely believed to be the final step in Zumaya’s rehab. He did that on Tuesday and Wednesday, pitching a scoreless inning apiece with two strikeouts in each outing.

Once his shoulder felt fine Thursday, he was declared ready to go.

Leyland didn’t specify a role for Zumaya, other than to say he’ll be pitching from the sixth inning on.

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.

Zumaya rehabs much better with Mud Hens

After two outings with control issues for Class A Lakeland, it sounds like Joel Zumaya is back in form now that he’s up with Triple-A Toledo for the rest of his rehab. He pitched two scoreless innings on two singles with no walks and one strikeout.

I wasn’t at the game, so I can only give so many details. But listening to veteran Mud Hens play-by-play man Jim Weber on the radio call, it sounded like a very strong effort. Reportedly, he was consistently in the mid-90s on the radar gun at the new stadium in Columbus for his first inning, which took just 10 pitches, before he apparently amped up when he came back out. His lone strikeout was to the last hitter he faced, and he supposedly hit 101 mph on the stadium radar gun on two of his final three pitches. Don’t know how accurate that radar gun is, but there you have it. He also spotted a curveball or two for strikes, though not consistently.

Unofficial count: 26 pitches, 17 strikes.

Zumaya to Toledo, Willis to Lakeland for rehabs

I’m off this weekend, going back to work during the Angels series next week, but I figured I’d give a quick heads-up about the decisions on two rehab stints, courtesy of’s Doug Miller in Seattle:

  • Joel Zumaya is going to join Triple-A Toledo for a stint beginning with an appearance Saturday. Not a whole lot of details were available beyond that, but based on what Zumaya said was the plan at the end of Spring Training, he wasn’t going to be headed out of Lakeland until the final step of his rehab, which would be to see him a little against tougher competition and more importantly to see how his arm handles pitching on back-to-back days. The Mud Hens are in Columbus Saturday and Sunday with an off-day scheduled for Monday before they’re back in Toledo for a homestand starting Tuesday.
  • Dontrelle Willis, meanwhile, will be starting a rehab stint for Class A Lakeland on Tuesday. Leyland said he pitched in an extended Spring Training game on Thursday and, according to reports, “looked fantastic,” with 48 of his 62 pitches for strikes and a fastball at 90-92. “They were legitimate strikes, too,” Leyland told reporters. “The younger kids weren’t swinging at balls outside the strike zone.” To answer what I anticipate the next question might be, Dontrelle can pitch for up to 30 days in a Minor League stint before the Tigers have to make a move of some sort.

Enjoy the weekend. Hopefully you can get out and enjoy this weather if you’re in the area before the rain arrives for Sunday.