I’ve learned to expect nothing from Joel Zumaya. (I also feel as though I've written this same thing each of the last two years.) If the Tigers are able to get anything out of Zumaya in 2010, we should all just consider it a bonus.
In spite of all of his injuries, Zumaya remains one of the hardest throwers in the big leagues. If he is on and healthy, there are very few batters that can catch up with what he features.
From ESPN's Jerry Crasnick:
Last year, Zumaya made one appearance after the All-Star Break before undergoing season-ending surgery on his right shoulder in August. After pitching 83.3 innings in 2006, Zumaya has logged a total of 88 innings in the three years since.
The Tigers signed Jose Valverde to be their closer, but the bullpen would look a lot more formidable with Zumaya throwing pellets in the seventh and eighth. At last check, Zumaya was working out at Detroit’s spring training complex in Lakeland, Fla., and the team was pleased with his progress."
Pitching coach Rick Knapp said Zumaya is throwing with his hand a “tick higher” on the baseball, which gives his pitches more late, riding life as they approach the strike zone. But it won’t matter much if he’s on the DL in April or May.
A healthy Zumaya makes the Tigers pitching staff better. You could argue that he makes the team significantly better. What Joel will show up in 2010?