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Hoping To Salvage Season, Tigers' Joel Zumaya Opts For Rehab Over Surgery

After the Detroit Tigers put him on the 60-day disabled list Monday, Joel Zumaya was faced with two choices: Start a six-week rehab program to strengthen his aching right elbow or undergo diagnostic arthroscopic surgery that would hopefully determine what exactly is causing him pain.

With his 2011 season possibly on the line, Zumaya opted for the rehab program.

From the Detroit News:

“The timetable if they had done a surgical procedure,” said trainer Kevin Rand, “was not favorable for him to pitch in 2011, so he’ll undergo six more weeks of rehabilitation to give him a chance of pitching later on this summer.”

Zumaya will not throw during the six weeks of the rehab program, concentrating instead on strengthening exercises. If all goes well from there, Zumaya will begin throwing again. And as is often the case with Zumaya in recent seasons, everyone involved will cross their fingers that those throws are pain-free. (Zumaya probably shouldn’t cross his fingers, though. He suffered a finger injury once.) This timeline would probably put him on track for a July return.

But if the pain still persists after six weeks of rehab, Zumaya will undergo surgery. That will almost certainly end his season, and quite possibly, his baseball career.