At some point today, Joel Zumaya will undergo surgery to repair a torn tendon in his middle finger, an injury suffered while warming up in the bullpen. He is expected to miss three months, and his injury leaves the Tigers looking for a reliable set-up man in their currently struggling relief corps.
Needless to say, Zumaya will be missed. He is one of the game's most intimidating pitchers, and his electrifying fastball is one of the most distinctive pitches in the league, up there with Johan Santana's changeup and Mariano Rivera's cutter. When I finally saved up enough money last season to buy a Tigers jersey, there was no doubt in my mind which player I would choose. Zumaya's 54 home white holds a special place in my closet alongside my Grant Hill throwback (I know, I need a new Pistons jersey) and Barry Sanders high school uni. He's my answer to "Who's Your Tiger?" While I believe the troika of Rodney, Grilli and Seay (don't get me started on Jose Mesa) will be able to hold down the fort in Zumaya's absence, the Tigers and their fans will certainly miss the excitement that every radar-busting fastball and knee-buckling curve
brought the team.
So here's to a full recovery, Zoom:
The overpowering pitcher...
...and accomplished actor.