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.