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Wednesday June 30, 2010 4:32 am

The same old song and dance




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Injuries, MLB,

Joel ZumayaIf you haven’t heard about Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya’s history of injuries, how much time do you have? If you haven’t seen his latest injury, don’t. Zumaya threw a 99 mph 3-2 pitch to Delmon Young on Monday night and his elbow almost literally exploded doing so. Young fouled the pitch off and moments later froze in horror as he and the rest of the world watched as Zumaya fell to the ground clutching his elbow and writhing in pain.

An MRI exam revealed on Tuesday that Zumaya’s elbow is fractured. He won’t pitch again this season. In 2007, Zumaya missed half the season with a dislocated right middle finger that he injured during a warm-up. Later in the season he dislocated an AC joint in his shoulder in an off-field accident. In 2008, Zumaya only made 21 appearances before going down with a stress fracture in his right shoulder. Not requiring surgery, he came back just to have a bone shard force him under the knife after all.

That is Zumaya’s career – or lack of career – in a nutshell. Monday night was his 31st appearance this season; the most he’s had since his rookie year in 2006. He was also having his best season as far as ERA, innings pitched, runs allowed, home runs allowed, walks, and strikeouts. This was definitely an awful time for Zumaya’s elbow to blow up; just when he was on the cusp of making a comeback and having a healthy season.

Zumaya was never going to be a capital-c “Closer”, but he had electric stuff. It’s just too bad that he has no luck. At 25-years-old, he’s already experienced more pain and agony than most pitchers will in their entire careers. However, that has also helped to toughen him up. This latest setback is only stopping him physically, not mentally. Zumaya has already committed to getting back on a mound, and who knows, maybe 2011 will be Zumaya’s first healthy season since the world found out his name.

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