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Like Stripes On the Fur Coat of a Tiger - 05/09

● As expected, Baseball Prospectus' Will Carroll has chimed in with his thoughts on Joel Zumaya's middle finger injury:

Joel Zumaya's not going to be playing Guitar Hero anytime soon, but it's his pitching hand, not his fretting hand, that's injured. In one of the freakier freak injuries, Zumaya ruptured a tendon in his right middle finger. That finger is perhaps the most important to a pitcher. He'll have surgery to re-attach the tendon later this week in New York, but sources I spoke with seem very concerned. No one seems to understand exactly how this happened. Did the finger dislocate, spontaneously reduce (pop back in) and somehow the tendon popped during this? Did the tendon weaken over time and finally rupture? There's no way of knowing, and that's a big part of the problem. Few people throw the ball as hard as Zumaya does, so the problems are amplified, both in determining a cause and in anticipating how he will return. This is going to be a very binary recovery--either he'll be back, or he won't. While re-attaching the tendon and getting him back to normal functioning shouldn't be a problem, it's questionable whether he'll get back to being the flame-throwing reliever. The first time we see the ball come out of his hand at speed, we'll know, but Tigers fans will be holding their breath up until that point. He's out at least twelve weeks, but do not be surprised at all to see this go a few weeks beyond that.

● In the Detroit Free Press, John Lowe has more on Zumaya's finger, including Zoom's defiant declaration that he'll be back before August 1. He also said Dr. Charles Melone told him that not only should the tendon become stronger after the surgery, but the procedure shouldn't affect his velocity or force him to change how he grips the baseball.

● Also, Zumaya's injury is seen more commonly with football players than baseball players. It's called "jersey finger."

● Big Al has posted his thorough and insightful 30-game review of the Tigers' pitchers and position players at The Wayne Fontes Experience.

● If you've listened to Mike McClary's Detroit Tigers Podcast, you're probably familiar with Josh Wallen's rants. Now, Josh is bringing that fervor over to the blog side, and has joined the contributors at The Daily Fungo.

Lookout Landing is making fun of some Tigers fans' spelling ability. (And the old English major in me says rightfully so. I cringed when I saw that on TV last night. It's kind of embarrassing.)

● Over at, Nate Silver (via Baseball Prospectus) has ranked his top 50 most valuable fantasy baseball players. It's not surprising that no Detroit position players are on the list. The Tigers' strength comes from their collection of good to very good hitters, rather than depending on a superstar. But Curtis Granderson and Carlos Guillen rated an honorable mention on Silver's list.

Where the Tigers do have star power, however, is on their pitching staff, and both Justin Verlander (#49) and Jeremy Bonderman (#30) are on the list.

● Also in today's Free Press, Kelley L. Carter profiles Gary Sheffield's wife, DeLeon, who's thrilled to resume her gospel singing career in Detroit.

● And if you feel like being reminded of just how far the Detroit Tigers have come in four years, check out this piece on the Nationals from the Washington Post. I assume they included a picture of Franklyn German looking dejected in his Tigers uniform as a sign of hope for Nats fans.