Joel Zumaya entered the league in 2006 as a precocious 21-year-old with a fastball that bruised the hands of catchers with reckless abandon. That year, he pitched in 62 games, compiling 83.1 innings and posting a 1.94 ERA. The average velocity of his fastball was 98.6 MPH and he was regularly seen hitting 102 without much problem.
Then things like this started happening:
Things looked like they may finally be starting to turn around for Zumaya when he entered Minnesota Twins camp on a Major League deal and was reportedly throwing as hard as ever. Unfortunately yesterday, news broke that Zumaya left his throwing session after just five minutes, walking off with head trainer Rick McWane.
After undergoing an MRI, it was revealed today that Zumaya has once again torn his ulnar collateral ligament and will require Tommy John’s surgery and will miss all of the 2012 season. Zumaya has not thrown more than 40 innings at the Major League level since his rookie year and this latest blow could very well signal the end for the 26-year-old fireballer.
This is a sad day for fans of dominant pitching; we may not see any more of this: