Tag:Joel Zumaya
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:19 pm

More tests for Zumaya

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joel ZumayaAt some point you wonder if Joel Zumaya will ever throw another pitch in the major leagues.

Zumaya will go to orthopedic surgeon James Andrews' institute in Florida next week for further tests on his right arm. He will have a new CT scan and X-rays as well as an electromyogram to check for nerve damage.

"He continues to have a radiating pain down his right forearm," Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told MLive.com's Steve Kornacki. "He said he would've been fine if he stopped at 24 [pitches], but on the 25th one he felt something."

Zumaya had surgery last spring to place a screw in his right elbow after a sickening injury on the mound in a game on June 29 in Minneapolis.

Zumaya appeared in one game in spring training, but felt pain in his elbow and forearm and was shut down.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:02 pm

Pepper: Rites of spring

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Every spring we get excited and pick winners for every division, count out teams, give a couple of other teams a free ride to the World Series and then sit back and are surprised when it doesn't happen.

The thing is, in baseball and in life, things change quickly and can change drastically.

Since the start of spring training games -- a little less than two weeks -- we've seen the Cardinals and Brewers lose some of their luster in the NL Central and the Phillies go from 110 wins to a struggling offense. We've even seen Carlos Zambrano be the calm, collected, sane member of the Cubs staff.

It's a rite of spring to project and to then react and overreact to anything we see on the field in these four weeks of meaningless games. And even when meaningful games start, there's enough time for injuries to happen, players to return and players to emerge to really know what's going to happen at the end.

And that's the fun of it. We don't know. You never know.

Sure, we can all expect a Red Sox-Phillies World Series, but there's no guarantee that'll happen. But if it does, I guarantee the road there will be completely different than we all imagined. And that's why this game is so great. You just never know, even if you think you know.

FEELING 'HITTERISH': Nationals über-prospect Bryce Harper has been nearly as entertaining off the field as on it, as he coin a new term on Wednesday.

From the Washington Post:

"I feel really confident in myself. There's guys who are going to come after you. I want to hit right now. I'm feeling hitterish. I'm trying to go up there and get some hacks in. I'm not going to be here for a long time. I want to try to go up there and get my hits in."

So, what's the definition of "hitterish" Adam Kilgore asked?

"You wake up in the morning, and you're feeling hitterish, you're going to get a hit that day," Harper said. "That's what it is. If you get a hit every day, you're feeling hitterish, for sure. Wake and rake."

Harper had an RBI single in his only at-bat on Wednesday and is hitting .357 this spring (in 14 at-bats).

BELTRAN BETTER: Carlos Beltran won't play in a Grapefruit League until next week, but he does feel "a lot better" and has not been "shut down." He took batting practice and played catch on Wednesday.

The Mets are looking at Willie Harris and Scott Hairston in right field if Beltran can't go, and are also giving Lucas Duda extra work in right field to prepare him to play there if needed. (New York Daily News)

GARLAND GROUNDED: Dodgers starter Jon Garland is expected to start the season on the disabled list after leaving Wednesday's game with a  strained oblique muscle on his left side. He had an MRI on Wednesday and the team is expected to announce the results today.

The team has already lost starter Vicente Padilla for at least the first month of the season after surgery to repair a nerve below his right elbow.

The injuries mean the once-pitching rich Dodgers are down to four starters, although the team won't need a fifth starter until April 12. John Ely and Tim Redding would likely be candidates if Garland and Padilla are still sidelined. (Los Angeles Times)

GOOD ADVICE: Maybe the Dodgers could get that old guy to take the mound -- the one working with Ted Lilly on Wednesday. That guy was Sandy Koufax.

"He still loves to watch baseball, loves the art of pitching," Lilly told MLB.com. "You know he was great. But he's also smart, he's passionate about pitching, he understands and sees things. Sometimes they are little things.

"I enjoy learning about baseball and talking about it with someone like Sandy Koufax, and I enjoy talking about it with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland. There are always ways to move forward, even if they are small."

ZOOM GROUNDED: Tigers manager Jim Leyland is planning his bullpen to start the season without Joel Zumaya, who has been sidelined with pain in his surgically repaired right elbow this spring.

"I don't think right now, from within camp or by trade, that you can replace a healthy Joel Zumaya -- and I emphasize a healthy  Joel Zumaya," Leyland told MLB.com. "So you have to just keep looking and try to come up with somebody, mostly from within."

The Tigers did go out and spend a lot of money on a set-up man, Joaquin Benoit, so the path leading up to closer Jose Valverde isn't barren. Ryan Perry is expected to handle seventh-inning duties, which he was expected to shoulder with Zumaya.

SALAZAR IMPROVING: Several Braves players said they feared for the worst after minor league manager Luis Salazar was hit in the face by a foul ball on Wednesday. 

"A ball hit that hard, at that short a distance, can certainly kill somebody if it hits them in the right spot," Chipper Jones told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm so glad to hear that he's conscious and breathing on his own."

Salazar was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Brian McCann and was airlifted to an Orlando hospital. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports Salazar suffered multiple facial fractures, but did not suffer any brain damage. He was able to interact with family members later Wednesday night.

D-BACKS COACH BREAKS FOOT: While not nearly as serious as Salazar's injury, the timing does take away several light-hearted remarks I could make, but Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams may miss the beginning of the regular season with a broken foot.

Williams took a line drive off the foot while throwing soft toss to his son, Jake, on Monday. He's expected to miss two-to-three weeks. (Arizona Republic)

FIRST AT FIRST: Indians catcher Carlos Santana played his first-ever professional game at first base on Wednesday.

Santana cleanly fielded all nine chances he got at first and also had a double in the Indians' 9-2 loss to the Padres.

The Indians are searching for ways to keep his bat in the lineup and keep the young catcher healthy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PILING ON: A New York  storage company is joining in on making jokes about the city's easiest target -- the Mets.

In an ad on the city's subways for Manhattan Mini Storage, it says, "Why leave a city that has six professional sports teams, and also the Mets?" (New York Times)

WHEN HIDEKI MET RICKY: New A's slugger Hideki Matsui has connected with team icon Rickey Henderson, whom Matsui admired growing up in Japan -- and the feeling is mutual. (MLB.com)

HIGH PRAISE: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera says 19-year-old left-hander Manny Banuelos is the best pitching prospect he's ever seen.

"I like everything about him," Rivera told ESPNNewYork.com. "The makeup and how he keeps his composure. I notice situations and how you react in situations. Where you make your pitches in tough situations, where you spot your pitchers, he has the ability to do that."

WHITE RETIRES: Former West Virginia and Miami Dolphins quarterback Pat White has retired from baseball.

After White was released by the Dolphins last September, White signed a minor-league contract with the Royals and played in the Fall Instructional League. On Wednesday, the team said White did not report to spring training.

The Dolphins drafted him in the second round of the 2009 draft. He was also drafted by the Angels, Reds and Yankees. (Associated Press)

RISING WATER: It's been raining here in Cincinnati, but check out just how much -- this photo from Reds assistant media relations director Jamie Ramsey gives you a big-picture view of just how high the water is on the banks of the Ohio River.

He adds another picture of flood gates set up around Great American Ball Park. (Better Off Red)

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 10:38 am

No structural damage in Zumaya's arm

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joel ZumayaFamed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews found no structural damage in the right arm of Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya, the team announced on Tuesday.

Zumaya saw Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday. The doctor recommended Zumaya not throw for at least another week and once he is pain-free, he can start throwing again.

The Tigers' flamethrower pitched against the Blue Jays on Feb. 27, but hasn't pitched since. He had offseason surgery on his right elbow.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:56 pm

Zumaya struggling with injuries, again

By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the saddest career arcs we've seen in the last few years is that of Tigers' fireballer Joel Zumaya, who has dealt with a multitude of injuries since his debut in the big leagues in 2006.

As a 21-year old rookie, Zumaya was the Tigers' set-up man, coming in throwing 100 mph hour and blowing batters away. As a rookie, he went 6-3 with a 1.94 ERA with 97 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings. He's thrown just 126 1/3 innings since then.

Joel ZumayaSince then, he's been beset by injuries, including last year's horrific elbow injury on the mound that cut short his best season since his rookie year.

This spring, he's been bothered by his surgically repaired elbow, appearing in just one game due to pain in the elbow and forearm soreness.

Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp told MLive.com's Steve Kornacki that Zumaya recently had an MRI and was seen by doctors, but has yet another doctor's visit lined up. He would not say if that appointment was with Dr. James Andrews, who has worked on Zumaya's arm before.

"Nothing has shown up out of the ordinary on the tests," Knapp said. "He went full-bore and had discomfort. It's in the doctor's hands now.

"He's got hardware in his elbow and that can't be good. But plenty of guys have come back from it. Joel has that high-torque delivery that generates so much stress. It's an oddity. And when you suffer an injury, you always want to protect it."

Zumaya wouldn't answer questions about his injury, Kornacki writes.

The Tigers tendered Zumaya a contract this offseason in hopes he could stay healthy, but he has said in the past he'd consider retirement if he got hurt again. He is scheduled to make $1.4 million this season.

Earlier this spring he referred to himself as a "China Doll," and there's a sad truth to what was then meant as a joke. It seems the human body just isn't designed to do what Zumaya can do with a baseball, and sadly it may never be able to do it again, at least on a regular basis.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 28, 2011 10:38 am

Pepper: Bunting fit for a Prince

Posted by Matt Snyder

For years we've seen teams shift their defense greatly toward the right side of the infield for left-handed sluggers like Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Jim Thome and Prince Fielder. Just as often, you'll hear someone -- be it a fan, blogger or announcer -- mention the hitter at bat should drop a bunt down the third base line. If placed properly, it should be an easy base hit. Yet we rarely see the sluggers actually try it.

This year could be different for Fielder. In fact, he successfully did it Sunday during an intrasquad game.

"They've always encouraged it, I've always been a little stubborn," Fielder told MLB.com. "I've given it a half [hearted] try, maybe. Not that I'm going to be [former big league speedster] Brett Butler, but why not? ... Especially against a tough pitcher. When you have a tough pitcher on the mound, and you have a shift, and you smoke a ball to the right side, you get defeated at times. If I can help the team, I might try [bunting] a couple of times."

The 26 year old also noted he's been getting help on his bunting from speedster Carlos Gomez. (MLB.com )

James Loney hit 15 homers in 344 at-bats in 2007. Since he took over as the everyday first baseman for the Dodgers, however, his home run power has disappeared. In the three following seasons, he's hit 36 home runs in 1,759 at-bats, and never more than 13 in a season. He actually regressed back to 10 last season. The Los Angeles Times notes manager Don Mattingley is not going to push Loney to hit more longballs, but Loney himself wants to. He's even slightly altered his swing and put in some extra work with hitting coach Jeff Pentland in order to increase his power. (LA Times )

HE'S BACK ... AGAIN: Josh Beckett was good in 2005, bad in 2006, outstanding in 2007, mediocre in 2008, great in 2009 and awful last season. So, if the pattern is to be followed, we're looking at a lights-out season from the 30 year old -- yes, he's still only 30, though it feels like he's been around forever. Early reports from spring training show Beckett as being determined as ever this season. It's a pretty good bet he's going to have a great year. (MLB.com )

CONFLICTING REPORTS: Adrian Beltre has gone down with a calf injury. Early indications were that he would miss around two weeks, but then there were some reports saying it would be much longer than that, even up to month -- which would have put the start of the regular season in jeopardy. Those reports are false, he says. The third baseman also said he'd be playing through the pain if it was the regular season. (Star-Telegram )

THREE HOLE: Adam Dunn has prodominantly hit fourth or fifth in his major league career. Over 4,000 of his roughly 6,000 plate appearances from come from those two spots. He's only garnered 689 at-bats from the three spot, but that is where Ozzie Guillen will be hitting him for the White Sox. Here's why I like it: Dunn is one of the most consistent power hitters in baseball. He's hit at least 38 home runs in each of the past seven seasons. People may have been reluctant to hit him third in the past due to his high number of strikeouts or low batting average, but his OBP over those past seven seasons is .381. He's patient enough to take pitches, and with a cleanup hitter behind him, there won't be tons of bad ones to avoid. In a launching pad like U.S. Cellular Field, that's huge. Look for him to challenge his career high (46) in bombs. (Chicago Sun-Times )

ZOOMIN' AGAIN: Joel Zumaya has had a rough time keeping his dynamic throwing arm healthy, including last season when a fractured elbow ended everything in late June. He was able to throw a scoreless inning Sunday and says he feels "great." That's music to the ears of baseball fans everywhere, because it's quite exciting to see Zumaya light up the radar gun and incredibly sickening to see how often his arm cries uncle. Hopefully that doesn't happen again anytime soon. (Detroit Free Press )

VALENTINE'S DAY: We all know the Mets (and Dodgers, but that's a different conversation) ownership situation is a mess. In a bit of a surprise, former manager Bobby Valentine is reportedly looking into buying a stake of the Mets. The team is looking to sell up to a quarter of the ownership, so Valentine's stake would certainly not be a majority, but it would still be quite the popular move among Mets fans -- many of whom still love the man. (ESPN New York )

ARIZONA COVETS YOUNG: Michael Young has not withdrawn his request to be traded, but he's not talking about it either. So it's still a possibility the Rangers retain his services -- especially if the spring injury to Beltre is an eye-opener as to Young's value. But there are still a few teams after the All-Star. The Rockies, Dodgers and Marlins have previously shown interest and we can now add the Diamondbacks to the mix. Young would be a good fit there, as the DBacks only have Melvin Mora at the hot corner. Of course, the Backs would need some financial help and Young's OK to get the deal done. (FOXSports )

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Posted on: January 20, 2011 9:44 am
Edited on: January 20, 2011 1:03 pm

'China doll' confident he'll be ready for opener

Joel Zumaya If you saw Joel Zumaya crumpled on the mound last June, you've got to be rooting for the guy now. Zumaya, the Tigers' flame-throwing right-hander, fractured his elbow on a pitch to Minnesota's Delmon Young, falling to his knees just after the high-90s fastball reached Tigers catcher Gerald Laird.

It was the latest in a string of odd injuries for the 26-year old reliever, and yet again he says he's ready to return to the mound.

"I think I'm gonna be on that team on opening day," Zumaya told the Detroit News ' Lynn Henning . "No… I know I will be on that team. There's no doubt about it."

Forgive anyone who doubts Zumaya, citing his long injury history.

"I've proclaimed myself 'China Doll' because I've been hurt so often," Zumaya said. "I want that healthy year too. Last year, it was heading that way."

He pitched in 31 games for the Tigers last season, the most he's appeared in since his rookie year in 2006 when he pitched in 62 games for the Tigers, who reached the World Series with help from Zumaya.

Last season he struck out 34 in 38 1/3 innings, walking 11, going 2-1 with a 2.58 -- also his best mark since his rookie season.

The Tigers gave Zumaya a $1.4 million deal to avoid arbitration last week, so they apparently have some faith in him and his recovery. So far, he's on track for the six-month rehab from his elbow surgery.

"You can see that look in his eye," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He looks tremendous, and all the reports on him are very good. We know what he can do for our bullpen."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 12, 2011 7:08 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 9:29 pm

Three avoid arbitration

With arbitration figures due to be exchanged on Tuesday, the coming days offer the last chance for arbitration-eligible players to reach agreement on 2011 deals without having to face the sometimes ugly truth of exactly what their teams think they're worth.

Three players got contracts sewn up Wednesday:

* Outfielder Ryan Raburn got a two-year, $3.4 million contract with the Tigers. Rayburn had a big second half last season, batting .315 with 13 homers and 46 RBI in 70 games after the break. In nine years under general manager Dave Dombrowski, no Tigers has even gone to an arbitration hearing (pitchers Joel Zumaya and Armando Galarraga remain unsaigned and arbitration-eligible this year).

* Catcher Koyie Hill, 31, reached a one-year, $850,000 deal to return to the Cubs. Hill has batted just .211 in his four years in Chicago, including a .214/.254/.298 line in 77 games last season, but MLB.com notes that in that span the Cubs are 84-72 in games he has started behind the plate.

* Angels catcher Jeff Mathis, who beat the Angels in arbitration a year ago, got a one-year deal for $1.7 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Mathis, 27, made $1.3 million last season, when he started 62 games. Like Hill, he's a weak hitter (.195/.219/.278) with defensive value. The Angels still have six players in line for arbitration.

There are still 123 players who filed for arbitration but haven't signed, according to mlbtraderumors.com.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Rockies reliever Matt Belisle has avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.35 million deal.

UPDATE: According to the Kansas City Star, pitcher Luke Hochevar also has reached a deal to avoid arbitration.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:40 pm

Zumaya giving it one last shot

Joel Zumaya Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya tells MLB.com's Jason Beck that if he gets hurt again, he'll be done with baseball.

Zumaya, 26, has managed just 109 appearances over the last four years. In 2010, he made 31 appearances, the most since his rookie year of 2006, before leaving a game in June with an elbow injury, ending his season. He's also struggled with shoulder injuries and a ruptured tendon in his finger.

"This year's going to be my make-it-or-break-it year," Zumaya said. "If I get hurt again, I'm basically going to be done with baseball. I'm going to have to find another job."

Zumaya is a year away from free agency, and is a candidate to be non-tendered at Thursday's deadline by the Tigers. However, he told MLB.com that the team has told him they won't non-tender him. Zumaya hopes to avoid arbitration and sign a one-year deal with Detroit.

Zumaya made $915,000 last year.

"I'm not going to be a guy that's going to take advantage of the Tigers," Zumaya said. "I do know what i can get for arbitration. I'm not greedy."

Zumaya has gotten the go-ahead to start throwing to prepare for 2011 and expects to begin throwing soon.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
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