Minnesota Twins Reliever Joel Zumaya out for the Season

Zeke Fuhrman@@mellamoelzekeAnalyst IIIFebruary 26, 2012

RHP Joel Zumaya pitches a bullpen session at Twins spring training in 2012
RHP Joel Zumaya pitches a bullpen session at Twins spring training in 2012

Terry Ryan's Joel Zumaya experiment is over before it really got started.

The former Detroit Tiger and often-injured flamethrower left a bullpen session on Saturday after experiencing uncomfortableness and inflammation in his right elbow. Tests today revealed that Zumaya has a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which will require Tommy John surgery.

Zumaya, who signed a one-year contract with the Twins after missing the entire 2011 campaign due to a broken elbow, was brought in to help shore up a depleted Twins bullpen that saw All-Star closer Joe Nathan sign with the Texas Rangers.

Zumaya, who has suffered many injuries in the past, will no doubt try to come back from this one. After breaking a bone in his elbow throwing a pitch at Target Field in June 2010, Zumaya told reporters that he is a hard worker and would come back from that injury.

"Maybe I'll start throwing lefty," Zumaya joked in 2010.

But this injury is no laughing matter. After a career filled with ruptured tendons, sore wrists from playing Guitar Hero, and falling boxes separating his shoulder, injuries are nothing new to Zumaya. And Tommy John surgery is nothing new to Minnesota Twins fans.

Since 2004, the Twins have had four pitchers tear their UCL: Joe Mays in 2004, Francisco Liriano in 2006, Pat Neshek in 2009, and Joe Nathan in 2010.

The Twins announced early Sunday morning that Zumaya will meet with the media to announce what he intends to do: undergo surgery and try to extend his once-promising career or to retire.

Zumaya has a career 13-12 record with a 3.05 ERA and 210 K since breaking into the big leagues in 2006. He is most famous for his ability to hit triple digits on the radar gun.