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Joel Zumaya is back from his latest injury and still lighting up radar guns

Feb 15, 2011, 3:44 PM EDT

Detroit pitcher Zumaya injures arm after pitching to Twins Young during their MLB baseball game in Minneapolis

Three months ago, in the midst of recovering from a fractured elbow, Joel Zumaya cautioned that he was one more injury from “finding another job,” but the oft-injured reliever was much more optimistic yesterday after throwing his first bullpen session of the spring.

Zumaya impressed onlookers with his velocity despite not throwing anywhere near maximum effort, which is to be expected from a right-hander who has amazingly never lost his triple-digit fastball despite a series of significant arm injuries.

Zumaya described himself as “having a ball out there” and he’s already advanced to mixing in off-speed pitches that he called “freaking lights-out.” For now though, manager Jim Leyland is still preaching patience:

He was hurt, and he was hurt bad. And now, all of a sudden, he’s feeling really good. You want to go out, you can’t wait to get on the mound and get a hitter in there. That’s normal, and I don’t think you want to act like that’s not there. But you also want to make sure you have that channeled a little bit. Don’t get so excited that you make some sort of foolish mistake, which he won’t.

A healthy Zumaya would give the Tigers an impressive assortment of hard-throwing relievers with closer Jose Valverde, free agent setup man Joaquin Benoit, and youngsters Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth. Prior to suffering the gruesome elbow injury last season he had a 2.58 ERA and 34/11 K/BB ratio in 38 innings.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 15, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    I hope Zumaya comes back and stays healthy. This guy is nasty when he is healthy and he’s already been through so much crap.

  2. pestiesti - Feb 15, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    It’s time to organize the 2011 Joel Zumaya Injury Pool. My money is on July 25, dislocated right ring finger suffered while receiving return throw from the catcher.

  3. dt - Feb 15, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    He’s already had a dislocated finger…and broken his elbow due to the force of his throw, and guitar hero wrist, and box on the shoulderitis. Can’t we just have a good ol’ fashioned Tommy John-needing tendon tear? I say he makes it through the Trade Deadline.

  4. baseballstars - Feb 15, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    I wish he could stay healthy. He’s always fun to watch. Fastest fastball in recorded history, almost 105 mph.

  5. marinermousse - Feb 16, 2011 at 3:13 AM

    Actually Aroldis Chapman owns that honor at 105.1

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