Joel Zumaya Undergoes Surgery On Elbow

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Joel Zumaya Has Elbow Surgery

After acknowledging that he had to go under the knife, Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya went and had exploratory surgery performed on his elbow on Tuesday. The news, at least as far as I can tell, is fairly good:

Kevin Rand, the Tigers’ head athletic trainer, said today that [Dr.] Andrews replaced the screw that had been surgically placed in Zumaya’s elbow after he broke the elbow as he threw a pitch last June.

"Dr. Andrews cleaned out the joint and (replaced) the screw, in case that was the cause of his pain," Rand said. "Nothing was really determined about that."

So Dr. Andrews replaced the screw in Zumaya's elbow just in case, but outside of that, he didn't see anything. He performed some routine maintenance, as it were, but there wasn't anything wrong with the bones, muscles or ligaments, which is what a pitcher likes to hear.

So we'll see. Andrews will re-evaluate Zumaya in about six weeks to check on his progress. It's unlikely that Zumaya will be able to pitch again in 2011, but it isn't entirely out of the question.


Joel Zumaya To Have Exploratory Surgery On Elbow

Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya has been out all season with elbow problems. Once cleared to begin a throwing program, he shut it down due to renewed discomfort. Previous exams hadn't shown any structural damage in his elbow, but he was faced with a choice: he could either have exploratory surgery, or he could go the rest and rehabilitation route instead.

Zumaya initially went with rest and rehabilitation. That was two weeks ago. But now, it seems Zumaya has changed his mind. Jason Beck:

#Tigers say Joel Zumaya will have exploratory surgery on right elbow after all. That'll be May 10.

As of two weeks ago, expectation was that he'd have a tough time getting back in time for season if he had surgery.

The exploratory surgery may not turn up much of anything, or it may uncover a more substantial problem that eluded prior tests. Either way, it's going to be hard for Zumaya to return in the 2011 season. The Tigers should probably go ahead and count him out as a potential contributor down the stretch.


Joel Zumaya Will Attempt To Rehab Elbow Injury Rather Than Have Surgery

Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya has been missing since spring training after developing discomfort in his surgically-repaired throwing elbow. Exams showed no structural damage and Zumaya was cleared to begin a throwing program in early April, but that throwing program was delayed when Zumaya began experiencing renewed discomfort in the form of radiating pain.

Zumaya went to see Dr. James Andrews, and Andrews didn't find any nerve damage in Zumaya's elbow. Still, that left Zumaya with a choice: attempt to rehab the elbow, or undergo exploratory surgery. According to Jason Beck, Zumaya has opted for rehab.

Surgery would have knocked Zumaya out for pretty much the entire season, so he's trying to avoid that outcome if possible. So he's going to enter a six-week rehab program instead before he can resume throwing. If all goes well, he return to the Tigers somewhere in the vicinity of the All-Star Break, but this being Joel Zumaya, we probably shouldn't assume that everything will go well.


Joel Zumaya May Miss Start Of Season; No Structural Damage In Elbow

Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya hasn't pitched for more than a week, as he's been dealing with elbow soreness. Stunning news, I know. Zumaya's had hand surgery, elbow surgery, and multiple shoulder surgeries, and he and stints on the disabled list seem to go hand in hand.

Zumaya's spent the last little while undergoing tests and talking with doctors, and the good news to come out of all this is that there's no structural damage to be found in Zumaya's elbow. There aren't any bone problems, or ligament problems, or severe inflammation or anything.

But while that seems to rule out a major injury, the joint is still uncomfortable, so the Tigers are going to shut Zumaya down for two weeks in an effort to get him feeling better. And that period of inactivity puts Zumaya's Opening Day status in serious jeopardy. Zumaya shouldn't miss much of the season with his current problem, but he's highly unlikely to be ready by the start of it.


Tigers' Zumaya Shut Down With Elbow Pain

In what probably ranks as the least shocking news out of spring training so far, Joel Zumaya is hurting again.

From Tom Gage (via the Detroit News):

There's never just smoke with a Joel Zumaya injury. There's always fire.

And there appears to be again.

Zumaya's elbow soreness required an independent examination Monday.

"We'll have specifics (Tuesday)," trainer Kevin Rand said. "He was followed up on (by outside doctors)."

It's been eight days since Zumaya last pitched, and almost a week since the Tigers disclosed that he felt some soreness in the right elbow that was operated on last year.

Since zooming through the sky like a doomed meteor in 2006 with all those triple-digit fastballs and 1.94 ERA in 2006, Zumaya has suffered a variety of injuries and averaged 32 innings per season.

Most recently, Zumaya went through a real scare last season when a bone in his elbow broke. But the surgery was deemed "successful" and he reported to camp last month without any pain at all. Until last week, anyway.

There are reasons for optimism. One, to this point nobody's seen anything wrong with Zumaya's elbow except the soreness that might expected after the surgery he had last year. And two, when Zumaya has been able to pitch in recent seasons, he's essentially thrown as hard as ever, his fastball averaging in the high 90s.

What's always concerned me, since the first time I saw Zumaya on TV, is that perhaps pitchers just aren't supposed to throw that hard without breaking something. Not many of them, anyway. And it sure hasn't seemed like Zumaya's an exception to the rule.

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