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Joel Zumaya Out Until June?!?!

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When Dave Dombrowski was quoted as saying he'd be "conservative" in pursuing relievers during the off-season, he surely hadn't yet heard the news that Joel Zumaya hurt his right shoulder while moving personal items during the California wildfires.

(Once again, my cell phone's been ringing off the hook. I should really be more attentive to breaking news. Thanks to the Daily Fungo's Josh Wallen and Big Ten Hardball's Brian for keeping me updated. Maybe they should be updating this blog. Thanks also to Matt Watson of AOL Fanhouse and Detroit Bad Boys for a timely e-mail.)

Saying Zumaya "hurt his shoulder" probably isn't putting it strongly enough. Whatever he did to his shoulder required AC joint reconstruction, and the surgery was performed yesterday in San Diego.

So what's the prognosis? According to MLive.com's Danny Knobler:

The Tigers said that Zumaya will have to rest his shoulder for the next six weeks, and will begin a throwing program in approximately four months. That would be during spring training, and the Tigers say they're hopeful Zumaya would be ready to pitch sometime during the 2008 season.

Most reports are saying Zumaya will miss the "first part" of the 2008 season. That probably entails at least the first two months of the season, though it could obviously be more, depending on how Zumaya recovers and responds to rehabilitation.

So "relief pitcher" probably just went back up to the top of Dombrowski's off-season shopping list. And that might be a call from Todd Jones' agent on line one.

The lesson to be learned here, for the young kids who might be reading this, is that you should never help anyone move. Ever. Especially if you're a professional athlete whose livelihood depends on the well-being of your body. And can afford to hire people to do that stuff for you. (Not to make light of what's happened in California, however. A lot of people are surely overworked and really need help right now.)