Tigers right hander Joel Zumaya underwent exploratory surgery on his ailing right elbow on Tuesday and according to Tigers Head Trainer Kevin Rand, there are still no answers as to what has caused the lingering pain in the joint.
Zumaya, who shattered his elbow delivering a pitch last July, seemed set for a full and healthy season when Spring Training opened. But after just one Grapefruit League outing, Zumaya has dealt with nothing but pain, soreness, and questions. Yesterday’s procedure was intended to discover the source of the problem, after multiple MRIs has come back showing no structural damage.
Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery and when Rand was asked what the outcome was, what was causing Zumaya’s pain, he said (of Andrews) ” He couldn’t definitively say.”
The plan now is for Zumaya to be re-examined in six weeks and Rand wouldn’t rule out a possible return for the fireballing reliever yet this season. Given that Zumaya has gone the rest and rehabilitation route twice already before undergoing this procedure, I’m not optimistic that things are going to change for the better anytime soon.
Last night, while watching the game, my wife and I saw the latest “Who’s Your Tiger?” commercial. She, after seeing Alex Avila‘s post-game interview following Justin Verlander‘s no-hitter, has decided that Avila has supplanted Ryan Raburn as her favorite. She asked me and I had to give it some thought. Of the current roster, I suppose it’s Miguel Cabrera, but in all reality it’s probably Zumaya. I have been in absolute awe of his abilities since the day I first saw him pitch.
Zumaya is a free agent after the season and it has been speculated that the Tigers don’t have plans to bring him back, even if he is healthy. His 31 games pitched last season marked his highest total since his rookie year when he appeared in 62 games for the eventual American League pennant winners.