For Zumaya, it's health before heat

The newest Twin, almost as famous for his injuries as his 100-mph fastball, is building up for a comeback.

hide

New Twins reliever Joel Zumaya

Photo: Julian H. Gonzalez, MCT

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Joel Zumaya expects to ring up triple-digit readings on the radar gun this season, but it's more important to the righthander to prove he's healthy -- and is more than someone who blows fastballs by hitters.

"I've toned it down a little bit where I know I've grown up as a pitcher, being injured and having to go through these injuries and learn to pitch in the big leagues," Zumaya said. "You just can't throw 100 [miles per hour] by people now. For me, 100 is overrated. There are quite a few athletes who are throwing 100 and hitters are timing it now."

Quite a statement from someone who, in 2006, twice threw pitches that registered 104 miles per hour.

Zumaya was introduced as the Twins' latest signing Thursday. It's a low-risk move that could pay off with a bounceback year by Zumaya and a stabilized Twins bullpen. The deal is worth $850,000 with the chance for Zumaya to earn another $900,000 if he appears in 60 games. His bonuses begin with his 30th appearance.

He has not thrown a pitch since June 28, 2010, when he suffered a broken elbow during an appearance for the Tigers against the Twins at Target Field. He expected to pitch during spring of 2011 but the screw placed in his elbow would not let him get full extension on his pitches.

He had a second surgery, in which the screw was replaced. He missed all of last season but threw for the Twins and many other teams in December.

"We watched Joel pitch in Houston about a month ago," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "We liked what we saw. He's certainly familiar with the American League, the American League Central. He fits us very well. We're looking for a [righthanded] power arm to pitch in the seventh and eighth inning. Hopefully we can keep Joel on the mound. Everyone knows he's had some arm problems."

Zumaya's injury history goes back to the 2006 playoffs, when he missed the American League Championship Series because of a sore wrist suffered while playing the video game "Guitar Hero." In 2007, he ruptured a tendon in his right hand. During the following offseason, he injured his shoulder while moving boxes. He landed on the DL in both 2008 and '09 because of shoulder problems.

Zumaya, 27, has averaged one strikeout per inning in his career but pitched in more than 31 games only once in five seasons with the Tigers.

"I've been through quite a few injuries," he said. "My perspective on that is clear. I have no thoughts about if I'm going to get injured. I had to go through another surgery this past year. Being out the whole year ... I needed to regroup and get real healthy. I have no thoughts coming into spring training that I'm going to lack the effort."

If Zumaya stays healthy, the bullpen might not have many spots available. Zumaya and Glen Perkins would be main setup men for closer Matt Capps. Brian Duensing is headed back to the bullpen after starting last season. Anthony Swarzak should have a leg up in the battle for a long relief role. Rule 5 draftee Terry Doyle must stay on the major league roster all season or offer him back to the White Sox for $25,000. That leaves one spot. There are 33 pitchers coming to camp.

During his workout for teams in Houston, Zumaya hit 92 to 95 mph on the radar gun, but also showed off a curveball he has been fine-tuning as well as a changeup. He will ease into spring training and won't obsess about throwing his best heat.

"There ain't no doubt in me that I will touch triple digits again this year," he said. "Maybe in the summer when it's warm, when I feel good, maybe against those Tigers."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
7:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ClevelandT. House (3-3)000
MinnesotaT. May (3-4)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles 7 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Detroit 3 Bottom 8th Inning
Kansas City 1
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL 0:00
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 4th Qtr 3:13
Duke 47
Marshall 31 3rd Qtr
Akron 3
Hawaii 9 3rd Qtr 11:30
Colorado 21
Louisville 0 Delayed 15:00
FIU 0
North Carolina 10 1st Qtr 7:26
East Carolina 7
Army 0 1st Qtr 5:03
Wake Forest 7
Virginia 7 1st Qtr 4:44
(21) BYU 3
(6) Texas A&M 3 1st Qtr 6:41
SMU 0
Rutgers 0 1st Qtr 7:28
Navy 7
Central Mich 0 1st Qtr 6:00
Kansas 7
Utah 0 1st Qtr 3:59
Michigan 3
Florida 7 1st Qtr 11:18
(3) Alabama 7
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Indiana 0 1st Qtr 14:40
(18) Missouri 0
San Jose St 0 1st Qtr 14:35
Minnesota 0
Massachusetts 0 1st Qtr 15:00
Penn State 0
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close