The Detroit Tigers announced today that star reliever Joel Zumaya underwent surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder on Wednesday. The procedure – an AC joint reconstruction – will likely shelve the hard throwing Zumaya until at least mid-2008. While moving items at his San Diego area home during the recent wild fires, Zumaya injured his shoulder, necessitating the surgery. He is expected to begin throwing again in about three months, with a hopeful return to the mound sometime next summer.
The news of this injury could have wide-ranging impacts on the Tigers off-season priorities, with a gaping hole now left in the back of the bullpen. With Zumaya injured, and Todd Jones testing the waters of free agency, the Tigers much find capable replacements to help fill the 8th and 9th innings of tight games.
With the shortstop position now solidified after the acquisition of Edgar Renteria, the Tigers have questions remaining in both left field and the relief corps. With the loss of two of their top three relievers, one has to expect their top priority the remainder of the winter will be to fill that void with several players.
News & Notes
Minor League Signings: The Tigers have resigned five players to minor league contracts, infielder Erick Almonte, catcher Nick Trzesniak, and pitchers Preston Larrison, Aquilino Lopez, and Gabriel Benitez.
Hessman Signs Split Contract: The Tigers and slugger Mike Hessman have agreed to a split contract that will return him to the organization for the 2008 season. The structure of the contract allows Hessman to earn up to $390,000 while on the Major League roster, and $120,000 while in the minor leagues. Hessman will head to spring training with a chance to make the big league club.
Coaching Staffs Set: The Tigers have also announced their minor league coaching staffs for the 2008 campaign. Manager Larry Parrish will return to the helm at Toledo, accompanied by AJ Sager – who was promoted from AA-Erie – as pitching coach, and Leon Durham. Matt Walbeck will return to try and lead Erie back to the playoffs, and he will be flanked by former West Michigan pitching coach Ray Burris, and Glenn Adams. After a tumultuous season, the Lakeland flying Tigers will be guided by former Oneonta Manager Andy Barkett, and he will be helped by the return of pitching coach Joe Coleman, and hitting coach Larry Herndon. Alan Mills will replace the departed Ray Burris as West Michigan’s pitching coach, supporting returning manager Tom Brookens. A new manager at Oneonta has yet to be named, but coaches Mark Johnson and Luis Quinones will return to their posts. The GCL will be led by manager Basilio Cabrera, pitching coach Greg Sabat, and Garrett Guest.