Fort Myers, FL – Joel Zumaya's career in Minnesota ended almost as quickly as it began.
The oft-injured right-hander will miss the 2011 season after an MRI showed a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that will need Tommy John surgery to repair, one of the few procedures Zumaya has not had to endure.
Zumaya was forced to leave his bullpen session after only 13 pitches on Saturday. The team had hoped that he had just broken up some scar tissue, but the news was far worse and could spell the end of a once-promising career.
The 27-year-old hurler, who had spent the first five years of his career with the Detroit Tigers, hadn't pitched in the majors since June 28, 2010, coincidentally in Minnesota. He suffered an elbow injury in that contest and underwent surgery for a non-displaced fracture of the olecranon.
Another procedure was performed last spring after pain persisted in the elbow and Zumaya missed the entire 2011 campaign.
Zumaya, armed with a fastball that had reached 100 miles per hour in the past, has been plagued by a history of arm, elbow and shoulder troubles. He struck out 97 batters and posted an earned run average of 1.94 in 62 games as a rookie in 2006, but has not appeared in more than 31 games during a season since.
In 171 career games, all out of the bullpen, Zumaya has a record of 13-12 with a 3.05 ERA and five saves. He's also fanned 210 batters in 209 2/3 innings.