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Updated: June 29th, 2010 2:46pm
Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya out for season with fractured elbow

Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya out for season with fractured elbow

by Tom Pelissero
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The gruesome elbow injury Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya sustained on Monday night at Target Field was as bad as it looked.

An MRI and X-rays on Tuesday morning revealed Zumaya has a fractured elbow and is out for the season.

"It felt like my elbow exploded," Zumaya said in the dugout before Tuesday night's game. "And when I mean exploded, for example, it just felt like it shattered -- like someone took a hammer and just shattered my elbow. I threw it, and when it recoiled back, it went straight numb. And maybe 40 seconds after when I fell to the ground, that's when the pain just started throbbing through my whole arm."

Zumaya -- who has suffered three previous serious injuries during his career, but none to his elbow -- was in good spirits on Tuesday, and he received some encouraging news; an MRI showed no ligament damage, meaning he will not be forced to undergo Tommy John surgery.

"I went home last night and I said, 'I've had enough of it.' But in the back of my head I'm strong-willed. I won't give up," Zumaya said.

"I can breathe a lot better today. I'm coming off 40 minutes of sleep. I didn't sleep at all last night. I think I still have a chance, and if it's not with this organization, maybe someone will take the chance to realize I am a hard-working person. I do have a chance.

"I've got a son, and I do want him to see me play baseball. I'm not going to give it up."

It's a significant loss for the Tigers, who boasted a solid eighth-ninth combination with Zumaya setting up for closer Jose Valverde. They'll be particularly short-handed tonight against the Minnesota Twins, because Zumaya's injury forced Valverde to pitch 1 2/3 innings on Monday and manager Jim Leyland won't throw him again tonight.

The Tigers have placed Zumaya on the 15-day disabled list and bought the contract of Casey Fien from Class-AAA Toledo.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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