Multiple sources are reporting that the MRI Joel Zumaya had this morning revealed a torn UCL in his right elbow. A torn UCL will mean Tommy John surgery and that he will not pitch in the 2012 season.
Zumaya, who has battled numerous injuries the past 5 years, none worse than this which could end his career. Zumaya could get another shot in a year or two but may have to contemplate retirement now.
Here is the definition of a torn UCL via ConcordOrtho.com:
The ulnar collateral ligament can become stretched, frayed or torn through the stress of repetitive throwing motions. If the force on the soft tissues is greater than the tensile strength of the structure, then tiny tears of the ligament can develop. Months (and even years) of throwing hard cause a process of microtears, degeneration, and finally, rupture of the ligament. The dominant arm is affected most often. Eventually the weakened tendon my rupture completely causing a pop and immediate pain. The athlete may report the injury occurred during a single throw, but the reality is usually that the ligament simply finally became weakened to the point that it finally ruptured.
Zumaya was a low risk, high reward signing for the Twins which didn’t work out. The Twins could have signed another right handed reliever for around $1 million but opted not to this offseason.
Terry Ryan will meet with reporters down in Fort Myers Florida later today to provide more details, Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN tweeted: Just talked to Terry Ryan, who said
#Twins will likely stay in-house to patch bullpen w/ Zumaya out. Said Zumaya is “distraught.”
Reliever Michael Wuertz is still on the market and could be a cheap replacement option for the Twins but it appears as of right now they will not explore that option. That could change in the coming weeks if no one stands out in camp and shows they can help the Twins bullpen in 2012.
Feel free to share your thoughts below on Zumaya’s injury and what the Twins should do next
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