The Detroit Tigers have gotten through their first scare of spring training. Yesterday, reports had the Tigers worried about reliever Joel Zumaya’s right elbow, which was still causing him pain after scar tissue had broken apart in that area.
Originally, it was believed that Zumaya would be fine after the inflammation went down in a couple of days. But continued pain led the Tigers’ training staff to examine the elbow further, and eventually Zumaya was sent to Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham.
The Tigers initially wouldn’t say whether or not Zumaya was being examined by Andrews. But the team confirmed that Zumaya had indeed been to Birmingham after the physician found no structural damage in Zumaya’s elbow.
Andrews recommended that Zumaya not throw for at least one more week and stick to physical therapy and strengthening exercises in the meantime. So while it’s good news that no damage was found in the elbow, it still should be of some concern that Zumaya is still unable to throw. As Tom Gage pointed out, the words “at least” are worth raising an eyebrow over. It could be longer before Zumaya picks up a baseball.
These latest developments are yet another reminder that the Tigers can’t depend on Zumaya to stay healthy through a full season and need other relievers to pitch well and make the team. Robbie Weinhardt, your bullpen spot is waiting.