Ever since Joel Zumaya burst on the scene in 2006 for the Detroit Tigers, it has been one injury after another for the 25-year-old righty. Zumaya appeared in 62 games for the Tigers in 2006, but since then he has appeared in 78 games total over the last three years.

Zumaya was off to a good, and more importantly, healthy start for the Tigers in 2010. He had a 2.58 ERA, his WHIP was the lowest of his career at 1.12, he led the Tigers in holds with 11, and his fastball was back at around 99 mph.

Unfortunately, all the good that Zumaya has done this year was erased in the bottom of the eighth inning of last night’s game against the Minnesota Twins.

In a scene that reminded me of Dave Dravecky’s injury back in 1989, Zumaya blew out his elbow in that eighth inning and for all intents and purposes, his season is over.

Zumaya’s injury isn’t as severe as Dravecky’s, but my arm hurt just watching Zumaya after he attempted to throw his final pitch.

Now the question for the Tigers is: How do they replace Zumaya in the ‘pen?

Zumaya was the bridge to closer Jose Valverde and now the Tigers need a new bridge— especially from the right side. Eddie Bonine has been good this season (with a 2.50 ERA), but walks way too many batters and doesn’t strike out enough.

Are the Tigers going to rely on Bonine to get a big out in the eighth against the Twins or Chicago White Sox?

Ryan Perry has the potential to be that guy, but hasn’t shown the consistency at the major league level that would give Jim Leyland confidence to put him in a game with the everything on the line. It looks like the Tigers are going to have to make a trade to fill Zumaya’s spot.

One guy I would keep an eye on would be Matt Capps.

The Nationals are slowly fading out of contention in the National League and Capps could be traded to make way for future closer Drew Storen.

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