MINNEAPOLIS — Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya has a serious injury to his right elbow after a scary scene on the mound that left him writhing around in severe pain on Monday night.
Manager Jim Leyland said after the 7-5 victory over Minnesota that Zumaya will have an MRI on his elbow Tuesday morning. Zumaya, who was wearing a sling on his right arm in the clubhouse, declined to comment through a team spokesman.
Leyland said he wasn't exactly sure about the nature of the injury and refused to speculate about a diagnosis.
"That's an awesome bad feeling to see something like that," Leyland said.
Zumaya threw a pitch with one out in the eighth inning that Delmon Young fouled off. His right arm hung limp next to his side as he squirmed around the mound for a few seconds before dropping to the grass. His right thumb was shaking while he was being examined by a trainer with concerned teammates gathered around.
Catcher Gerald Laird said he heard "just like a little pop" and was hesitant to go to the mound, fearing the worst.
"He's going to get back on the mound when this thing's all said and done," Laird said.
Zumaya missed big chunks of the last two seasons because of right shoulder problems and the year before that with a middle finger strain. He was back in form this season with a 2.58 ERA in 38 1/3 innings.
He looked like he could barely walk as he left the field, with his right arm pressed against his stomach for stability. It was too early to tell when, or if, Zumaya would be back. It's clear, though, that it won't be anytime soon.
"Every pitcher that ever pitched is one pitch away from throwing his last one," Leyland said, "and certainly I don't want to paint a bad picture here because I'm not saying that's the case here at all. But that's just the way it is."