ZumayaFor a long time — even up until this spring training — I thought the Tigers had bought themselves enough time to get Joel Zumaya healthy by drafting Ryan Perry, signing Jose Valverde and then signing Joaquin Benoit.

With today’s news that Zumaya is headed to the 60-day disabled list, with no clear answer on what’s causing the pain in his throwing elbow, I’ve come to grips with the fact his days in Detroit, if not baseball altogether, are reaching the end.

Tigers head trainer Kevin Rand summed up Zumaya’s road back from his most-recent injury:

“On the fracture side, everything is fine, but there’s something causing pain. He’s tender right over the screw (that was inserted during the surgery).

“It’s frustrating for Joel. It’s real tough. He rested it six weeks, picked up a baseball, everything felt great.

“Twenty-four throws in he felt great, on the 25th he felt something — and now he can’t pick up a baseball.”

Plenty has been written about the similarities of Zumaya and Mark Fidrych, pitchers that burst onto the Detroit sports scene three decades apart. (Including a piece on this site from November 2007.)

Of course, the similarities had nothing to do with their pitching and everything to do with their immense talent. Talent that was snuffed out by persistent injuries.

Here’s hoping that Zumaya will return to baseball and ideally with the Tigers. Today, though, I can’t see it happening.

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