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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not good news on Zumaya; Tigers move him to 60-day DL

If you were waiting for Joel Zumaya to don his Superman cape and swoop to the rescue of the Tigers’ struggling bullpen, don’t hold your breath.

Then again, if you were actually expecting that to happen, it begs the question where you’ve been for the last four years.

The Tigers moved the star-crossed reliever from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL on Monday, meaning that he’ll not be eligible to return to the team until at least the end of May.

Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said last week that Zumaya was expected to be reexamined early this week by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Florida after experiencing “radiating pain” in his throwing arm during his first throwing session a few days earlier.

Monday’s news means that examination — which was to include more X-Rays and MRIs, along with an added test, an EMG, to check nerve conductivity — did not go well, other than to rule out nerve-related issues.

“Nothing really jumped out at us any more than what we had already determined,” Rand told reporters in Seattle Monday. “The (elbow) bone has healed up. It’s kind of a puzzle. Nobody can point and say, ‘That’s why he has pain. That’s the cause.’ ”

The options from here — which will be discussed with Andrews and the team’s medical staff — are to continue the rehab program, which could last six more weeks and still yield no progress, or undergo a diagnostic arthroscopic procedure, which might pinpoint the issue.

It’s the latest setback in Zumaya’s halting recovery from the elbow surgery that ended his 2010 season. The right-handed fireballer was placed on the 15-day DL on March 22nd, after just one spring training appearance, with inflammation in his elbow.

He had surgery on the elbow in mid-July, inserting a pin in his right elbow to repair a fracture of the olecranon.

That, however, is just the latest injury in a litany of mishaps that have befallen him since his sensational rookie campaign in 2006. After 62 appearances in the Tigers’ run to the World Series that season, Zumaya has not made more than 31 appearances in a season since, having suffered through a ruptured tendon on the middle finger of his throwing hand, a dislocation of the AC joint in his throwing shoulder, followed by a stress fracture in the same shoulder.

Having seen him fight through injuries before, the Tigers brought Zumaya back on a one-year, $1.4 million contract in the offseason, avoiding arbitration.

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