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Blog Entry

Joel Zumaya has torn UCL, is out for season

Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:39 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 5:18 pm

By Matt Snyder

Saturday, oft-injured Twins relief pitcher Joel Zumaya had a bullpen session cut short when he felt something in his elbow. Unfortunately, it appears the news is as bad as it could be. An MRI revealed that Zumaya has torn the ulnar-collateral ligament in his throwing elbow,'s Jon Heyman has confirmed. For those unaware what this means, tearing the UCL means the pitcher will need Tommy John surgery in order to recover.

"He feels bad, I feel bad. Not the news I wanted to hear on Sunday morning," said Twins GM Terry Ryan (Dustin Morse on Twitter). "This is a 12 month thing."

So Zumaya's 2012 season is already over. In fact, one has to wonder how much more he can take before calling it a career. Since the 2007 season began, Zumaya has suffered a ruptured hand tendon, separated shoulder, a fracture in his elbow area and more. He only appeared in an average of 27 games from 2007-10 and missed all of 2011 after exploratory surgery in his elbow.

“He’s distraught, as you’d expect,” Ryan said (Associated Press). “He’s going to come in here in the next day or so and we’re going to talk about the immediate future for him.”

Zumaya stormed onto the scene as a rookie in 2006 for the Tigers when he was just 21 years old. He lit up the radar gun in triple-digit fashion with ease, even getting clocked up in the 104 miles per hour range. He had a 1.94 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings that season. He appeared ready to be one of the league's elite bullpen pitchers for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, he's never been able to stay healthy since.

The Twins signed Zumaya to a one-year, $850,000 contract this past offseason for bullpen depth. They will, however, only be on the hook for $400,000 since he won't be on the opening day roster. In a very short time, he already made a strong impression in the Twins' clubhouse.

“He looks like some monster out there pitching against you,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said (AP). “But you get him in your clubhouse and you realize there’s special people and he’s a special person and it’s a really sad day for him and his family and our baseball team, too, because we were all hoping this guy would be able to get back on this thing and make it through. Unfortunately it didn’t work out.”

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Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: February 26, 2012 3:30 pm

Joel Zumaya has torn UCL, is out for season

Just sad.  He was great to watch when he was good. Another sad day for Zoomer fans :(

Since: Dec 18, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 3:16 pm

Joel Zumaya has torn UCL, is out for season

Awful news. So much talent, but could just not stay healthy. We was rooting for you Joel, even though you were no longer a Tiger.

Since: May 11, 2009
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:12 pm

Reports: Zumaya tore UCL, is out for season

WOW. The guy had a ton of potential, but none of that matters if you can't stay healthy. He will probably never throw a pitch in MLB again. He certainly won't last an entire season ever again.


Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:10 pm

Reports: Zumaya tore UCL, is out for season

What a shame. Oodles of talent, and just can't stay healthy. I hate seeing stuff like this happen, and wondering what a guy could have been. Keep working Zumaya, and best of luck in a speedy recovery! If Dustin McGowan can make it back to the bigs, you can too.

Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:57 pm

Reports: Zumaya tore UCL, is out for season

Man I feel bad for this guy.  He's just had one bad thing after another with the injury bug.  I wish him the best.

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