Monday, February 27, 2012

Zumaya out; this is a recording

Something we won't see again this year, at least, and perhaps
never again: Joel Zumaya throws a baseball.
That didn't take long.

We all knew when the Twins signed Joel Zumaya that he was a serious health risk. That he lasted all of 13 pitches into a batting practice session Saturday was a bit of a surprise, but not a big one.

Thirteen pitches was enough to shred an elbow ligament. Added to his vast assortment of previous injuries — from finger strain to wrist strain to fractured elbow to separated should — it might be enough to end his career.

Justin Morneau said last week of his concussion problems that there's a limit to how long he is willing to torture himself to play. Zumaya probably knows the feeling. He has one of the great fastballs of my 40-plus years as a fan, and that's saying something. Even after all those serious injuries, he can still bring the heat.

Terry Ryan told reporters Sunday that it was not a day for him to talk to Zumaya about his future. But he will. The Twins have the option of cutting Zumaya loose; his deal contains "just" $400,000 of guaranteed money. That's a lot to you and me, but it's almost $100,000 less than the major league minimum.

But I can imagine Ryan, when he and the fastballer talk this week, making this proposal: Sign another incentive-heavy, non-guaranteed deal, commit to the Tommy John surgery and the rehab that comes with it, and we'll put you on the 60-day DL rather than release you and promise a spot on the 40-man roster for the offseason. 

Zumaya might accept that offer. Or he might decide he's tortured himself long enough. I don't think anybody could blame him if he gave up on the cursed talent of his right arm.

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