Joel Zumaya is hoping to be fully recovered from his latest significant arm injury in time for spring training, but the flame-throwing right-hander told Jason Beck of MLB.com that his next injury would probably be his last one:
I’m trying to make some believers. This year’s going to be my make-it-or-break-it year. If I get hurt again, I’m basically going to be done with baseball. I’m going to have to find another job.
Zumaya is still just 26 years old and has remarkably managed to maintain his triple-digit fastball despite seemingly coming back from a different injury every season, but it’s tough to blame him for not wanting to come back from another one. Right now he’s rehabbing the gruesome-looking fractured elbow that occurred mid-pitch in June, and he’s also undergone past surgeries on his shoulder and finger.
Detroit will reportedly tender Zumaya a contract for 2011, although there’s speculation that the Tigers may try to work out a pre-arbitration deal rather than risk having to give him a raise to over $1 million. And if he does have to go “find another job” after next year, hopefully Zumaya saved some of the $3 million or so he’s earned so far. Triple-digit fastballs look better coming out of the bullpen than they do on top of a resume.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: