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Tigers' Joel Zumaya To Have Exploratory Surgery; Season Likely Over

Two weeks after choosing a rehab program for his sore right elbow over diagnostic arthroscopic surgery, Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya has now decided to undergo an exploratory procedure.

The surgery is scheduled for May 10, according to the Detroit News. And while an exact timetable won’t be laid out until after the procedure when doctors presumably diagnose exactly what’s wrong with Zumaya’s elbow, it’s difficult to imagine any schedule that will allow for him to pitch this season.

Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said as much two weeks ago, when the team announced the original decision to try a rehab and strengthening program.

“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.”

It has yet to be revealed why Zumaya and the Tigers decided to go with surgery after rehabbing for only two weeks. But it stands to reason that Zumaya wasn’t progressing as hoped and that the pain in the right elbow is perhaps getting worse.

Zumaya reported to spring training appearing healthy and optimistic about his chances of contributing this season. But after appearing in only one exhibition game on Feb. 27, he developed soreness and radiating pain in the elbow and forearm that never went away.

Not only does this likely end Zumaya’s season, but his career with the Tigers could be reaching its end, as well. He’ll be a free agent after the season, and both sides might decide to move on.

That’s presuming that Zumaya even wants to continue his baseball career. During the winter, he said if he got hurt again, he’d “find another job.” Of course, several baseball teams — including the Tigers — will probably be willing to take another chance on a former phenom who routinely hit 100 mph on the radar gun.