There are plenty of story lines to watch this Detroit Tigers season; between Miguel Cabrera‘s health, Victor Martinez‘s return, and the fifth spot in the rotation, Detroit fans have their heads on a swivel. But one story line that is receiving almost no attention at all is that of reliever Josh Zeid. After spending two seasons with the Houston Astros, he was placed on waivers in November of 2014, only to be claimed by the Tigers.
It has been a long journey to this point for Zeid, but with his mindset, talent, and can-do attitude, Josh Zeid will be one of the feel-good stories of 2015. Zeid’s time in Houston was welcomed with hardship, mainly because of injury, as the New Haven Register explains:
"Zeid made his big-league debut with the Astros in 2013 and pitched well, finishing with a 3.90 ERA in 25 relief outings. Last year, while bouncing back and forth between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Houston, Zeid struggled mightily — a 6.97 ERA in 23 outings with the Astros.Zeid had been diagnosed in 2013 with bilateral sesamoiditis — essentially, broken bones on the balls of both feet, underneath his big toes. It had been bothering him for two years, and though he’d have MRIs and injections and even tailored his training regimen so that he was never on his feet during workouts, it finally caught up to him this past summer.Zeid had surgery on his right foot on Aug. 6, then his left foot on Oct. 6."
This has got a fever and the only prescription is a Major League comeback. And the time couldn’t be better, as Zeid is now fully healthy and Detroit has bullpen spots up for grabs. “This is the first time I’ve technically been on two good feet in two and a half years,” Zeid said. “I feel like I am a completely new pitcher.”
Detroit Tigers GM David Dombrowski agrees that Zeid could make a splashy return in the Motor City, saying “”We think he’s healthy now, so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
Aside from the injury plagued seasons in Houston, Zeid dominated in the minor leagues, striking out 190 batters in 179.2 IP. That one excruciating injury put him in a tailspin as soon as he hit the Majors. But Zeid believes this is his year, explaining he’s never felt better heading into spring training and will be making no excuses this season.
Chris McCosky of The Detroit News explains that Zeid has some competetition in obtaing a spot on Detroit’s roster:
"Zeid is among a large group of right-handers vying for a bullpen job. Assuming Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Bruce Rondon, and Al Albuquerque, plus two left-handers will be on the 25-man roster, Zeid is battling with Alex Wilson, Chad Smith, Jose Valdez, Angel Nesbitt, and possibly Buck Farmer for one spot."
It’s no easy task, but Zeid is confident he can accomplish the feat:
What also makes his story so much more enticing is that he is a breath of fresh air in the ego-dominated playground of professional sports. The 27 year-old is a legitimate guy you can get behind and cheer for. Plus, Detroit has a history with taking former Astros and making them something to get excited about (J.D. Martinez, anyone?) He has so much to offer and could really be a sparkplug in Detroit. And he agrees, saying “I plan to be of importance and have an impact.”
So here’s to you Mr. Zeid, and good luck this season!