Twins' worst fears about Zumaya's injury are realized

The injury-prone flamethrower might consider retirement after tearing a ligament in his elbow.

FORT MYERS, FLA. — In desperate need of a bullpen upgrade, the Twins took a chance on righthander Joel Zumaya, a pitcher blessed with incredible power but cursed with fragility.

They began to look forward to games in which Zumaya would enter in the eighth inning, throw some fastballs that approach 100 miles per hour, strike out batters and then hand the ball to closer Matt Capps.

Those moments will never materialize, as Zumaya on Sunday was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament that will force him to miss the entire 2012 season. In order to pitch again, Zumaya will need Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. But Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Sunday that Zumaya is "distraught" and is deciding whether he wants to go through another lengthy rehabilitation or end his career.

"I'll wait to talk to him in the next day or so when he comes back to give you guys an idea of exactly what he thinks, where he's at," Ryan said.

The 27-year-old Zumaya, who was unavailable for comment Sunday, was injured Saturday when he stopped his batting practice session after 13 pitches and walked off the field. A magnetic resonance imaging exam Sunday confirmed the tear. Since 2006, Zumaya hasn't thrown more than 38 2/3 innings in a season because of injuries up and down his talented arm. He had wrist problems late in 2006, hand and shoulder injuries in 2007, more shoulder problems in 2009 and fractured his elbow in 2010 during a June game at Target Field.

"I feel bad for the guy," said lefthander Francisco Liriano, who missed all of 2007 because of Tommy John surgery.

Zumaya's injury history is why the Twins signed him to a one-year deal worth $850,000 with another $900,000 in appearance bonuses. However, Zumaya had to make the Opening Day roster to collect the full $850,000. Instead, he will receive $400,000.

"Unfortunately, it didn't work," Ryan said. "And he feels bad, I feel bad. But we're not going to let it define this club and the season. Obviously we're going to have injuries. This is one that I didn't particularly want to see this early, obviously, because things were going fine. But it happened, and we've got to deal with it. Now there's opportunities."

Ryan said the club will not look to bring in free-agent relievers, pointing out that there are still 32 pitchers in camp and he would like to see what he has in-house. Trades are always a possibility, Ryan said, but, again, he prefers to evaluate to pitchers in camp.

As of now, Glen Perkins is the only pitcher the Twins trust in the eighth inning. Ryan mentioned Anthony Swarzak, Alex Burnett and Brian Duensing as pitchers the Twins will need to step up. And, even before camp started, Ryan had maintained that someone was going to come out of nowhere and surprise in this camp.

"I have not seen many of these [new] guys so it would be unfair to ask me what they look like," he said. "I would like to think that Duensing, Swarzak and Burnett, they are capable. But until we start playing games ... watching workouts and side sessions, I don't take a whole lot of stock in that. It's when you get out here and start facing 'A' lineups, that's when you start to evaluate and separate."

Suddenly, the door opened a little more for pitchers such as Jared Burton, Jason Bulger, Matt Maloney, Jeff Manship, Kyle Waldrop and Jeff Gray. There's also Rule 5 draftee Terry Doyle, who has to remain on the major league roster all season or be offered back to his original club, the White Sox.

Ryan looked up at a wall in his office, where the Twins roster is hanging among the 30 teams in the major leagues.

"There's a bunch of guys up there that might [step up], and there's a bunch of nonroster invites that might," he said. "Until we start playing games and see how people respond, it would be premature to say who's going to take that spot."

  • TWINS SPRING TRAINING

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close