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When Everyone Else Zigs, Joel Zumaya Zags

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We already knew Joel Zumaya had a rebellious streak in him. Whether it was the flame tattoos on his right arm, the Jimi Hendrix entrance music, the Guitar Hero pursuits, or, well, other escapades, this was a guy with some rock star in him. Someone that wasn't going to conform to the rules. And once again, as the Detroit Tigers prepare for the 2009 season, we see that Zumaya is no lemming.

Reporting to Lakeland leaner and meaner was a goal among several pitchers that woefully underachieved last season. Nate Robertson lost weight this offseason to regain flexibility, as did Justin Verlander, and Dontrelle Willis shed five pounds to regain, well, everything.

But not Joel Zumaya. You turn right, he turns left. You zig, he zags. While his fellow pitchers might think slimming down is the answer, Zumaya is bulking up.

From Jon Paul Morosi's story in yesterday's Freep:

Zumaya said he is at 245 pounds now and would like to get back to the 260 he weighed during his standout rookie season in 2006.

Zumaya said it's possible to eat well and gain weight.

He trimmed down to 230 last year but has since decided that "this skinny stuff doesn't make my body feel too good."

He knows you need a big pile of wood to start a fire. You've got to be large to be in charge. Even Jim Leyland agrees a bigger Zumaya should be a better one.

"Joel Zumaya is a big kid," Leyland said. "In my own personal opinion, he didn't really look good at that lighter weight. He looked so different.

"To me, he didn't look like Joel Zumaya last year. He looks like Joel Zumaya again. When I see him in the clubhouse, he looks like Joel Zumaya.

Hey, whatever works. Whatever allows Zumaya to bring the heater, '06 style. And, of course, stay healthy. If adding some padding provides some protection, all the better.

Oh, and one more thing: As someone who just took razor to face yesterday for the first time in six weeks, I dig the beard, Zoom.