Tag: Joel Zumaya

Spring Training 2012: Joel Zumaya Already Injured in Twins Camp

Minnesota, we have a problem. 

With just ten days before their first spring training game of the year, the Minnesota Twins have already encountered a major issue:  Joel Zumaya is injured.

After throwing this morning, Zumaya experienced discomfort in his throwing arm, according the CBS’s Jon Heyman. ESPN’s Phil Mackey later confirmed that Zumaya was bothered in his right arm and will get an MRI either tomorrow or Monday morning. 

The Twins signed Zumaya to a one-year deal just over a month ago and an injury to his arm is the last thing they wanted to see. After appearing in 62 games for the Tigers in 2006, Zumaya has failed to appear in more than 31 games since then, primarily due to injuries.

In 2007, he missed 96 games after getting surgery on a ruptured tendon in his middle finger. Then in 2008, he missed 72 games after right shoulder surgery. A stress fracture later that season cost him another 41 games.

Zumaya missed 74 games in 2009 with another shoulder surgery. Two elbow surgeries over the last two seasons have kept him out of over 200 games, including all of last season.

The addition of Zumaya to the Twins’ bullpen was thought to be a good move if he could stay healthy, which doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. As of now, Minnesota has only a few quality relievers in their bullpen, with Matt Capps as their closer. Long-time closer Joe Nathan is now with the Texas Ranger and won’t be there to aid the struggling bullpen.

Having five surgeries on his right arm over the last five seasons is not what you want to see in a pitcher—and a sixth surgery may not be far off. Even at just 27, retirement may be the smartest course of action for the right-handed flame-thrower.

To say that the Twins are in trouble before their first spring training game is an understatement.

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MLB: Joel Zumaya’s Career with Detroit Tigers Appears over

About four months ago, I wrote an article wondering aloud whether the Detroit Tigers should give oft-injured fan favorite Joel Zumaya one last chance, with a new contract. 

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski gave us an answer to that question at the winter meetings when he stated bluntly that the team will not offer Zumaya a major league contract; but they are happy to have him at camp as a non-roster invitee.

Detroit did not even have a representative among the 50 scouts present at Zumaya’s open workout in December. Clearly the Tigers have decided to move on without the flame-throwing righty and it appears the odds of him showing up at Tigers training camp as an invitee are very slim, despite his stated interest in remaining in Detroit.

Rumors abound that the San Diego Padres are very interested in Zumaya, a San Diego native who would benefit from an extreme pitchers’ park in Petco Park. For someone who could get a fresh start in his hometown with a guaranteed major league contract and very little expectations, I don’t know that he has many better options.

Even if he doesn’t sign with the Padres it appears as though, pending a physical, he will get a contract offer from some team as a result of his open workout. The Mets and Angels are other possible destinations.

All that being said, I am personally sad to see Zumaya leave the Motor City. For all the disappointment he caused for Tigers fans with his injuries, he was equally as electric when on the mound.

And even though he may never wear the Old English “D” again, my lasting memory of him in Detroit will not be of him crumpled on the mound in agony, his elbow seemingly made of glass. It will be of him mowing down batters as a rookie in 2006 with a 100 mph heater and knee-buckling curveball, which gave Tigers fans new hope after so many years of suffering.

Thanks for the memories, Zoomer.

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2011 Detroit Tigers: Even With Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers Will Struggle Early

Even with Miguel Cabrera, don’t be surprised when the Detroit Tigers are in last place in the AL Central division after the first month of the schedule. 

The MLB schedule makers have done no favors for a team that has been abysmal on the road the last two years, and the team has one major and a few minor issues to deal with.

To begin their 2011 schedule, the Tigers open with road trips to the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. In New York, the Tigers will see CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes in front of a boisterous Yankee crowd; they then will travel to face an improved Orioles team.

The schedule eases a little as the Kansas City Royals come to town for the home opener, but the relief doesn’t last for long as the defending AL Champion Texas Rangers will make a trip to Comerica Park on April 11-13.

Next up is a seven-game AL West road trip against the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners, followed by a home series against the AL Central favored Chicago White Sox.

The Tigers always struggle out West and the White Sox will be a very strong team this year.

Twelve of the first 17 games are on the road, where the Tigers have played terrible over the past three seasons. Despite being a nearly combined .500 overall, the Tigers have won just 40 percent of their road games over the past three seasons.

In addition to the rough schedule to start the season, the Tigers will be dealing with some lingering internal issues that could cause some distractions.

Of course, the Miguel Cabrera arrest will be a major distraction for this team. Rather than accept the penalty and admit fault (making the issue go away quicker), Cabrera and his attorney have decided to plea not guilty to the DUI charge against him.

Rumor is that Cabrera has a decent chance of getting out of the charge, as evidence seems to be lacking that he was actually behind the wheel when approached by police. 

In my opinion, Cabrera should accept the penalty, let the embarrassing situation die and learn from it.

The fact that he is fighting the charge will no doubt drag the incident as a discussion piece for the team as the litigation plays out in the public eye. It also raises further doubt that Cabrera is a changed man. 

Either way, it isn’t good for the team to start the season but the media frenzy will die down eventually.

I do expect Cabrera to struggle to start the season just as he has to start spring training.

Leyland has a nice problem with the fourth and fifth outfield positions. Well OK, it’s not exactly a problem, but it’s something that still needs to play out. 

Ryan Rayburn has done nothing in spring training to lose his stranglehold on the starting left field spot, but three young players have been outstanding for the Tigers in the outfield thus far, meaning the team has some decisions to make.

Brennan Boesch has shown he actually can still hit after his 2010 post-All Star break free fall. He’s also shown improved defense, which was a huge knock on him.

Casper Wells has picked up where he left off late in 2010 and non-roster invitee Andy Dirks has probably been better than either Boesch or Wells this spring and has played his way into the mix.

The way it’s going, two of these guys will probably make the team and Leyland’s favorite utility guy Don Kelly (or Ramon Santiago if Kelly is moved to strictly a backup infielder) might be in trouble. 

Leyland is going to have to get rid of a couple guys who deserve to be on the team.

Since Leyland tends to out-think himself, it might lead to some early lineup mistakes. Again, not exactly a problem, but something that will need to play out.

Finally, it wouldn’t be baseball season without Joel Zumaya injury news. Zumaya is expected to miss a little time as scar tissue has broken up from last year’s surgery on his throwing elbow.

Although the process of scar tissue breaking is normal, every bit of news related to Zumaya’s health needs to be taken seriously. 

Zumaya is extremely important to the Tigers bullpen and a prolonged absence would hurt them significantly. Expect the Tigers to use him with caution the first several weeks of the season.

Despite the fact that they will likely struggle early, Tigers fans should not worry too much about the team. 

The rotation has looked excellent thus far and the rest of the issues should resolve themselves in time.

I have a feeling that this season the Detroit Tigers will be making the late season run to the division title rather than the team blowing it.

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AL Central Update: Have The Motor City Kitties Used Up All Nine Lives?

Is the baseball season really a marathon? Or, can injuries, poor play, and bad luck end your season in just a couple of weeks? The Detroit Tigers will be able to answer that question rather quickly.

After a mediocre first two months of the season, the Detroit Tigers scratched and clawed their way to the division lead on June 28. As the Minnesota Twins spun their wheels in first place, objects in their mirror were closer than they appeared. 

The Detroit Tigers were sparked by an 8-1 stretch during interleague play against Pittsburgh, Washington, and Arizona. The Twins were swept by the last-place Milwaukee Brewers and had given back what was a five-game cushion in the AL Central. With Justin Morneau going down with a concussion just before the All-Star break, the Minnesota Twins looked like they could be the odd team out in a division that was thought to be there for the taking.

An awful start by Tigers pitcher Andrew Oliver allowed Minnesota to avoid a sweep at home to the Tigers in their final game before the break, so instead of being five games behind the Tigers, the Twins were only three-and-a-half games behind the streaking Chicago White Sox. Not only did the Tigers let the Twins inch closer, but the White Sox, behind a 25-5 record in June, took over the division lead by a half-game.

Out of the break the Tigers couldn’t have played any worse. They were swept by the last-place Cleveland Indians in a four-game set at Progressive Field. They followed that up by losing the first two to the Texas Rangers by a combined score of 16-6. The Tigers offense scored only 12 runs in the first six games out of the break, and the pitching staff allowed seven or more runs, four times.

Then the a freight train of injuries stormed through the Tigers clubhouse, pretty much ending any chance they had of contending this season. First, Joel Zumaya went down before the break with a fractured olecranon in his throwing arm. After the break, a series of injuries began on July 22 when Brandon Inge was hit by a pitch and broke his hand. He went to the DL and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Following that up, on July 24 Magglio Ordonez broke his ankle sliding into home plate and was immediately placed on the DL and will miss six to eight weeks as well.

With the Twins and Sox playing well over the past week or so, the Tigers have fallen five-and-a-half games behind the White Sox and four-and-a-half behind the Twins. The White Sox are reportedly favored to acquire perennial power hitter Adam Dunn.

The Twins are in search of pitching help and with the continued absence of Justin Morneau, they could be in search of a right-handed bat to balance out their left-handed dominant lineup.

The Tigers acquisition of Jhonny Peralta from the Indians can’t hurt the team, but it’s likely too little too late. Losing three top-tier athletes in less than a month looks to be too much to overcome for manager Jim Leyland. The Tigers might be better off selling off assets this season to build towards next year. By the time Ordonez and Inge put on their cleats again, the division should be all but sewn up.

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Detroit Tigers Injury Woes: Joel Zumaya Blows Arm Out During Game

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.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Detroit Tigers Reliever Joel Zumaya Injured, Who’s a Likely Replacement?

Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya suffered from what appeared to be a major elbow injury as he exited the game in the eighth inning.

Zumaya, who is known for his high-velocity pitches that frequent the 100 mph mark, said he heard a pop in his throwing arm after his last pitch of the game against Michael Young.

The Tigers went on to win the game against the Minnesota Twins 7-5.

Zumaya has gone through two consecutive seasons in which he was forced to miss a lengthy amount of the season due to injuries. In 2007, Zumaya missed nearly half the season after dislocating his right middle finger, and in 2008 he only pitched 50 games following a stress fracture in his right shoulder.

To say that this is a major blow to a Tigers’ bullpen, that has been absolutely dominant, would be an understatement. Zumaya has a 2.58 ERA, 11 holds, and 34 strikeouts this season, which puts the Tigers in an interesting predicament in finding a worthy replacement.

Alfredo Figaro seems to be the most viable option. In 2009 he contributed to the Tigers’ pitching rotation by adding 23 holds and 16 strikeouts.

Currently, Figaro is with AAA Toledo, but expect Jim Leyland to make some move by the end of this week.

Maintaining the rhythm the Tigers bullpen has going will definitely require Fu-Te Ni, Phil Coke, Eddie Bonine, and Jose Valverde to step up their game.

Zumaya was scheduled to have an MRI on his right arm this morning since the extent of his injury hasn’t been identified, although it is most likely a dislocated elbow.

Elbow dislocations can take anywhere from two to eight weeks to fully heal and that is not good news for the Tigers who are in the middle of a heated AL Central race.

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Joel Zumaya Injury Video: Detroit Tigers Pitcher Suffers Awful Injury

The injury plague that has ruled Detroit Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya’s career struck again Monday night.

The reliever threw a pitch with one out in the eighth inning that Minnesota Twins outfielder Delmon Young fouled off.

Zumaya’s right arm went limp after the pitch and he fell to the ground, writhing in pain. His right thumb shook as trainers examined him.

The video shows a pitcher in so much pain he can barely walk off the field.

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Zach Miner: Tommy John Surgery on Tap, Detroit Tiger Fans Hardly Upset

Zach Miner…..does that name even ring a bell to anyone? Certainly not in 2010. Ok, you might remember him from such exciting shows as Imploding ‘Pen 2009 and Fail ‘Pen 2008. 

Miner is an everyman reliever and sometime starter most notable for not being notable. The story is always the same—average stuff, below average strikeout rate, above average walk rate, never an exceptional outing, and usually pitches as if he belongs on the trash heap.

I could never understand why manager Jim Leyland had such a man-crush on Miner. Yes, perhaps it was because after 2006 he did not have much else to be excited about. Joel Zumaya spent most of the time injured, Fernando Rodney was wild, and Todd Jones stole most of his energy. 

Leyland always loved Miner in late game situations because of his “sinker” ball and ability to get ground balls with runners on base to try to turn double plays.

That “sinker” ball was usually the one that couldn’t be thrown for strikes, was smacked into the outfield, or deposited into the seats. 

Let’s face it, I’ve got close to no love for Miner. He is at best a mediocre pitcher whose value has always been overstated by management. Then again, criticizing Leyland and his use of the bullpen is something I could write a volume of articles about. 

Well, no one has to worry about Zach Miner this year. That is, except for whoever is putting him under the knife on Friday.

Miner’s season is over, he is having elbow ligament replacement “Tommy John” surgery on Friday. 

Miner was shut down during spring training due to discomfort in his elbow. He finally resumed throwing at the beginning of May, in extended spring training, before being shut down again.

Did anyone miss him?

In an unrelated note, the Tiger bullpen has been phenomenal in 2010. Ryan Perry had a rough outing against the Mariners today, but one melt down can be forgiven in the light of how great he has been this year. 

I eat more potatoes than ever, wash them down with Coca Cola, and wish I drove a Mazda. What’s better, Miner has been replaced by someone who is actually good.

Not just average so far, Eddie Bonine has been great. #mce_temp_url#  (I’m just leaving this disgusting looking link sitting here in the middle of my article since I still can’t figure out the link changer after seven tries).

So Miner can take all the time he needs to recover. Believe me, he is going to need it. This is “Tommy John” surgery we are talking about. Miner’s 2010 season is done and his 2011 season is now in jeopardy. 

Yet, the Tiger’s bullpen continues to destroy opposing hitters. Maybe Miner does his best pitching from the DL.

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The 10 Things We’ve Learned From the Detroit Tigers’ Offseason Thus Far

The Tigers have played 39 games in the 2010 season. They recently shook up their roster in a weekend series against the Boston Red Sox. Struggling SP Max Scherzer and 2B Scott Sizemore were shipped off to exile in the minors. The pair have given fans ample opportunity to scratch their heads and wonder about some of the offseason moves the Tigers made.

Well, I figure 39 games is enough of a sample to evaluate and second guess everything the front office did over the winter. Let’s see what David Dombrowski got right for this season, potentially for the future, and what he perhaps bombed out on.

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