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Tigers reliever Zumaya hits 98 mph on rehab stint

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by Dan Nilsen | The Flint Journal

Saturday May 24, 2008, 12:30 AM

DETROIT -- The news was good out of Florida on Friday regarding three Tigers going through rehabilitation.

Relief pitchers Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney both threw in an extended spring training game in Kissimmee and had "very positive days," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

Zumaya, recovering from shoulder surgery, pitched one inning and Rodney (shoulder tendinitis) tossed two against Houston's club. Zumaya hit 97-98 mph on the radar gun and Rodney was up to 93-94.

"They both threw very well and they felt healthy and strong," Leyland said. "But they still have a process to go through. You don't know how they'll feel tomorrow."

Leyland wasn't surprised by Zumaya's velocity and said he was more encouraged by Rodney's.

"I knew Zumaya was going to be throwing hard," he said. "This is a game situation, so he's starting to pump it up. He's feeling pretty good.

"I was just glad to see Rodney take it from 88-89 to 93-94. Will he do it the next time out? We don't know. Its still a process he has to go through."

Both will pitch another stint in Florida.

Catcher Vance Wilson (elbow surgery) had to leave the game when a throw to second base bothered the elbow. But Leyland said there was no cause for concern.

"They've already talked to the surgeon and they just think its scar tissue," he said.

http://www.mlive.com/tigers/index.ssf/2008/05/tigers_reliever_zumaya_hits_98.html

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Awesome news. I was very excited when I heard this last night.

Get one of them healthy and our bullpen looks better. Get both of them healthy and our bullpen looks very nice. Get both of them back plus Rapada and the pen has the potential to be one of the better ones in the majors.

Jones

Zumaya

Rodney

Seay

Rapada

Two of Cruceta/Lopez/Bautista.

Yeah, that could work.

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I think Vance very well may be done. At least with the Tigers. His contract is up at seasons end and he's not a young man. I don't see the Tigers using a roster spot for him unless Pudge/Inge gets hurt.

Zumaya's outing sounds encouraging. Just don't rush him back. Wait until he's 100%.

As for Rodney? Someone's gotta tell him that when he's hurting he has to let someone know about it. He was hurting a couple of times during his career and kept it quiet. But everyone knew when he lost a few miles per hour on his fastball. It made his change up that much easier to hit.

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I think Vance very well may be done. At least with the Tigers. His contract is up at seasons end and he's not a young man. I don't see the Tigers using a roster spot for him unless Pudge/Inge gets hurt.

Zumaya's outing sounds encouraging. Just don't rush him back. Wait until he's 100%.

As for Rodney? Someone's gotta tell him that when he's hurting he has to let someone know about it. He was hurting a couple of times during his career and kept it quiet. But everyone knew when he lost a few miles per hour on his fastball. It made his change up that much easier to hit.

100% or 100 mph whichever comes first.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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This is amazing news. If these guys can come back and pitch close to what we know they're capable of, we will have a rock solid pen. Now I would love to see how Zoom's curve looks, but I won't get too ahead of myself.

Oh, and Cruceta is the real deal. He'll still be up here.

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Now to work on the starters....

I'd start by making Zumaya a starter. I think having 4 days off between apperances will be better for him in the long run. And this coming from someone who thinks he'd be a great closer if he could just get someone to give him the ball in closing situations. But for his career, given the circumstances, I think he's better off starting.

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No way Zumaya holds up for 200 innings year in, year out. His mechanics are good at throwing a baseball 100 miles an hour, but not good for throwing 100 baseballs a day. If the Tigers get 80 relief innings out of him a year for a few years without elbow or shoulder injury, I'll be very happy. He throws a baseball like Billy Wagner or BJ Ryan, who have bad mechanics, not like Verlander or Beckett, who have good mechanics.

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No way Zumaya holds up for 200 innings year in, year out. His mechanics are good at throwing a baseball 100 miles an hour, but not good for throwing 100 baseballs a day. If the Tigers get 80 relief innings out of him a year for a few years without elbow or shoulder injury, I'll be very happy. He throws a baseball like Billy Wagner or BJ Ryan, who have bad mechanics, not like Verlander or Beckett, who have good mechanics.

I disagree on his mechanics. He's very solid with his mechanics. He uses his legs well and doesn't have a lot of wasted motion. His mechanics are better than Verlander's. Beckett is almost perfect, though. Similar to Clemens and Ryan(who had the best I've ever seen).

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I disagree on his mechanics. He's very solid with his mechanics. He uses his legs well and doesn't have a lot of wasted motion. His mechanics are better than Verlander's. Beckett is almost perfect, though. Similar to Clemens and Ryan(who had the best I've ever seen).

I agree about his legs, but his pitching arm is contorted in ways that none of the other pitchers you mentioned ever are. Zumaya's elbow gets far above his shoulder in his delivery, and none of the others ever had that. Hold your elbow above your shoulder for a minute, and then imagine doing that with the added stress of throwing a baseball 100 mph. To me, in addition to having all of the examples of pitchers with long, successful careers not pitching like this, it seems intuitively like it would cause more stress just based on doing it yourself for a minute.

And it seems like the Tigers agreed with this, because there was a point where both Verlander and Zumaya were going to join the team, and Verlander got picked to pitch in the rotation. I imagine they put Zumaya in the pen for a reason, and it certainly wasn't that he didn't have good enough secondary stuff to start. They must have had some reservations about his ability to hold up over a long season starting.

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I agree about his legs, but his pitching arm is contorted in ways that none of the other pitchers you mentioned ever are. Zumaya's elbow gets far above his shoulder in his delivery, and none of the others ever had that. Hold your elbow above your shoulder for a minute, and then imagine doing that with the added stress of throwing a baseball 100 mph. To me, in addition to having all of the examples of pitchers with long, successful careers not pitching like this, it seems intuitively like it would cause more stress just based on doing it yourself for a minute.

And it seems like the Tigers agreed with this, because there was a point where both Verlander and Zumaya were going to join the team, and Verlander got picked to pitch in the rotation. I imagine they put Zumaya in the pen for a reason, and it certainly wasn't that he didn't have good enough secondary stuff to start. They must have had some reservations about his ability to hold up over a long season starting.

Oh, there's no doubt he torques the hell out of his elbow(and, as we found out, his fingers). All pitchers do that when throwing a curve, but Zumaya's IS exaggerated. I still think he might be better suited to start where he can warm up slowly as opposed to warming up quickly as a reliever must do.

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Oh, there's no doubt he torques the hell out of his elbow(and, as we found out, his fingers). All pitchers do that when throwing a curve, but Zumaya's IS exaggerated. I still think he might be better suited to start where he can warm up slowly as opposed to warming up quickly as a reliever must do.

I know this is a hard question, but mentally, it seems like he might really really like the adrenaline of being a relief pitcher.. Do you think he is mentally suited to be a starter?

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If Zumaya started (like he did when he was in the minors), he'd try to throw 100 pitches at 100 mph. Which is why he needs to be in the bullpen.

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No way Zumaya holds up for 200 innings year in, year out. His mechanics are good at throwing a baseball 100 miles an hour, but not good for throwing 100 baseballs a day. If the Tigers get 80 relief innings out of him a year for a few years without elbow or shoulder injury, I'll be very happy. He throws a baseball like Billy Wagner or BJ Ryan, who have bad mechanics, not like Verlander or Beckett, who have good mechanics.

Well, he seemed to hold up in the starting rotation in the minors better, then he has in the bullpen at the major league level. I think relieving is harder on the arm then starting personally, throwing full effort more days, vs. pacing yourself every 5th day.

Zumaya tossed 150 innings in the minors, his mechanics may suck, but his control is too iffy for the bullpen, it can be overcome as a starter.

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If Zumaya started (like he did when he was in the minors), he'd try to throw 100 pitches at 100 mph. Which is why he needs to be in the bullpen.

He didn't do that when he started at the minor league level, he worked at 95/96 like Verlander does currently. Plus he had a wicked hammer curveball that he rarely uses out of the bullpen.

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I know this is a hard question, but mentally, it seems like he might really really like the adrenaline of being a relief pitcher.. Do you think he is mentally suited to be a starter?

He has the mentality to be closer. You can tell he likes getting the crowd excited by throwing a 100 MPH fastball past hitters. Just his body language and the look in his eyes. Stalking around the mound. He started in the minors, so he knows how to pace himself. I just wonder how well his shoulder will respond when he's called upon to close 3 games in a row. Will he be able to withstand that part of relieving now? Or will he be worthless without a couple days off between appearances?

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