Joel Zumaya making his return to the Tigers bullpen

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Joel Zumaya making his return to the Tigers bullpen

Post  Admin on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:45 am



Joel Zumaya had a hard time getting the smile off his face Monday. So, for that matter, did Victor Martinez.

Zumaya was in the midst of his first formal bullpen session in front of the Tigers' coaching staff when he unleashed a breaking ball that sent Martinez scrambling as it darted toward the dirt. The look on Martinez's face brought a wide grin from Zumaya.

Shortly after, Zumaya's fastball brought a grin from pitching coach Rick Knapp, who knows the drill with Zumaya and spring workouts by now

He didn't simply fire away at Martinez on Monday. He made a point of mixing in his changeup, and he unleashed the breaking ball that got the reaction from Martinez. The secondary pitches have been chronicled almost as much as the injuries. They're forgotten, though, when Zumaya is on the comeback trail.

Nine months after the broken elbow bone that ended Zumaya's 2010 season in horrific fashion in Minnesota, there's nothing holding him back this spring. He's free to do every workout, and his training room regimen isn't out of the ordinary. The smile he flashed on the mound after that breaking ball was the same grin he wore while fielding ground balls during pitchers fielding practice Monday morning.

But as others have noted, keeping Zumaya healthy in the winter and spring isn't as big of an issue the past few years as keeping him healthy in the summer. Other than his due diligence on workouts, there isn't much more Zumaya can do about it. It's kind of hard to see a fractured olecranon bone coming.

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