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Twins release Joel Zumaya ahead of Tommy John surgery, must pay entire $850,000 salary

Mar 28, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

zumaya ap AP

Joel Zumaya is scheduled to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery tomorrow, but he won’t do so as an official member of the Twins after Minnesota released the oft-injured right-hander this morning.

Minnesota could have simply transferred him to the 60-day disabled list and cleared the 40-man roster spot that way, which is generally more common than outright releasing an injured player.

Either way, as part of his partially guaranteed one-year deal Zumaya will get $400,000 and has said he plans to continue pitching. He looked healthy this spring before walking off the field with a torn elbow ligament following an early batting practice session, so the best-case scenario for Zumaya likely involves searching for minor-league deals next February or March.

UPDATE: Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com reports that, contrary to what was previously believed, the Twins are “on the hook” for Zumaya’s entire $850,000 salary because the injury occurred before the season, which would seem to go against the entire point of not guaranteeing his deal.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I’m rooting for ya, Joel.

  2. blabidibla - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    I think he takes Huff’s job by mid May. Huff deserves a bench role.

  3. rooney24 - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I wish Joel good luck.

    There was no reason for the Twins to keep him on the roster. He never pitched for them, still gets his money, and isn’t signed beyond this season (even if he makes a full recovery).

  4. Tim OShenko - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Disappointing to see Zum-Zum hurt yet again. That said, it’s one helluva consolation prize, making 850 grand to not play baseball for a year.

  5. odj810 - Mar 28, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    I’m sure it frees up team docs and trainers to help the people who can contribute to the club now and in the future. I can imagine someone recovering from tommy jon is a full time job for the trainer.

  6. deep64blue - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    If they release him because he’s pitching terribly he doesn’t get his money. He was injured as a member of his team so it would be incredibly harsh if they could just cut him and not pay out.

  7. dracko19 - Mar 29, 2012 at 6:52 AM

    Don’t MLB teams have insurance against injury salaries? DET has a policy in place that is helping them pay Victor Martinez this year.

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