Tigers and Zumaya's shoulder both washed out

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Like many games today, the Tigers/Wrong Sox game was canceled due to endless rain. They’ll play a double-header tomorrow, although I’m not sure what time the make-up game will be. Presumably the scheduled 3:55 pm EDT game will stay at that time.

In more interesting/awful/hilarious news, Joel Zumaya has officially busted his shoulder up again. AGAIN! I don’t even know what to say anymore. The poor guy. Poor us.

Zumaya had been on a throwing program to try to ease the shoulder back to full strength. However, the 23-year-old woke up Thursday with discomfort in the shoulder, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. Zumaya was sent to team physician Stephen Lemos, who diagnosed the stress fracture of the right coracoid, a bone in the front of the shoulder from which several muscles attach.

It’s a rare injury for a baseball player, and it’s uncertain whether it’s related to the equally rare shoulder surgery from last fall.

Whatever the case, this latest injury was not sudden.

“It’s something that happened over the course of time from throwing,” Rand said.

Likewise, it will not be a quick healing process. The rehab timeframe calls for Zumaya to avoid any baseball activity for six to eight weeks before starting a rehab program. That seemingly would put him on track to be ready for next spring.
Jason Beck/DetroitTigers.com article

I’m gonna go out on a limb here (but not one of Zoom’s limbs, because it would probably crack under the strain) and say, yeah, it’s probably related to the surgery. If you don’t recall, I explained what he did to himself at the time and included illustrations. The illustration up top here is one of those, reworked to show you the coracoid process (which is the bit that Zoom cracked). See where it is in relation to the AC joint that he screwed up in that previous injury?

Like they said, it’s a pretty rare injury for a ballplayer, so you really have to believe that it’s related to all the drama that was already going on in that area. I don’t know exactly what happened, obviously, but I would guess that either the injury (fallin’ boxes!) or the subsequent surgery did something to the muscles or tendons that attach to the coracoid process – threw something a little more out of joint than it already was, caused Zoom to put more strain on something he wasn’t straining as much with his usual, uninjured pitching motion in order to compensate for post-surgical weakness or pain, whatever. This new mechanical issue put unaccustomed amounts of stress on the coracoid process, et voila, stress fracture.

As the trainers have indicated, rest and rehab should take him up to Spring Training of next season. But this injury is probably at least partially related to a change in Zoom’s mechanics following a previous injury. I’ve suspected that this might be the case before… when he shredded his finger tendons, I wondered if maybe his forearm injury (The Guitar Hero Injury) had caused him to shift his grip to something unhealthy. So yeah, the stress fracture has to heal, but more than that, I’m concerned with Zoom’s mechanics once it has healed enough to let him throw again.

Someone needs to take a VERY close look at how Zoom is throwing, how he threw before, and how the two differ. Someone needs to watch him VERY closely to make sure that he’s not – even unconsciously – putting undue strain on some other vital part of his arm. Pitching is inherently stressful for an arm/shoulder, obviously, but Zoom keeps doing things that make it worse, and when he gets hurt and tries to come back things get even WORSE. This is a job for the trainers and the pitching coach.

Let us hope they’re up for it.


8 responses to “Tigers and Zumaya's shoulder both washed out

  1. I am really starting to believe that Zoom will never return to his former… form.
    Very sad.

  2. It would be a helluva shame if that was the case. All that talent… ay, I suppose this is how Cubs fans felt about Prior, innit?

  3. Actually, RE: what LooLa said, considering you’re an art school gal, I think medical illustration may be a great career for you. One of my cousins has illustrated eyes form copious amounts of publications over the last 50 years and has made quite a living off of it.
    Just a thought. GO Tigers!

  4. Oh, PS – kiss Zumaya’s @ss goodbye. We should trade him, even for the bargain price we’d get right now, for someone more reliable. Zoom reminds me of Frydrych more and more as time goes on.

  5. Samara, Have you considered becoming a doctor?
    God Speed Zoom….

  6. What would they even get for Zumaya? He’s damaged goods. They’d be lucky to get a used jockstrap.

  7. LooLa, for the sake of the greater medical community, I will definitely not be pursuing a career as a doctor. :P
    h20polopunk, HILARIOUSLY ENOUGH, that is exactly what I am trying to do with my life right now. Scientific illustration, actually, which includes medical and other stuff like botanical and entomological and so on. It is an enormous pain in the tail to try to find a normal paying job in it right now, though. :/
    I think they would definitely be able to find someone willing to take a flyer on Zoom – the talent is there, and enough teams are sufficiently hard up for talented pitching (including us). The injuries would certainly drive his price down, though, and if he ever did recover to his full potential, we would be talking about the Great Fleecing in the Zumaya Deal of ’08-’09.

  8. In that case, they might as well hold onto him and hope for the best. :P

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