MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 28: Joel Zumaya #54 of the Detroit Tigers clutches his elbow after falling to the ground in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins during their game on June 28, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Zumaya left the game. Tigers defeated the Twins 7-5. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The discomfort has led doctors to take more drastic action.
Joel Zumaya’s 2011 season sounds likely over before it ever began. The Tigers announced that the hard-throwing, but injury-riddled reliever will undergo exploratory surgery next Tuesday to determine what is ailing in his right elbow.
No timetable was released with the news, and the club is expected to reserve comment until after the surgery. However, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said two weeks ago there was serious doubt whether Zumaya could return in time for the season if he had the surgery.
"Serious doubt?" That's being generous.
We all know a return to the Tigers, let alone a return to intimidating 100 MPH form, is the longest of long shots for Zumaya. He's become this generation's Mark Fydrich. There was one glorious season, but a promising career gone off the rails due to injury.
With Zumaya due to become a free agent, the team will likely part ways with him after the season.The Tigers need to move on, and Zumaya may have to move on from a baseball career. Unfortunate, but true.
I remember the powerful, entertaining and scary good Joel Zumaya who made the Yankees look silly in the 2006 playoffs. So it's a shame the last lingering image we'll have of Zoom is of his screaming in pain on the field in Minnesota after breaking his elbow.
A real damn shame.