Thursday, February 12, 2009

Joel Zumaya Laying Claim to Tigers Closer Role

Manager Jim Leyland has probably all but pencilled in Brandon Lyon to replace retiring Tigers closer Todd Jones, but that's not stopping fireballer Joel Zumaya from laying claim to the job.

Zumaya -- coming back from a career threatening fracture -- has been cleared to resume play in a second opinion sought from sports surgeon James Andrews, and has announced he not only will be ready by opening day, but already is throwing at 100 percent and plans to vie against Lyon and Fernando Rodney to be the go-to guy out of the pen, according to a recent Detroit News report.

Zumaya -- who historically has thrown in triple digits -- told the News that he is developing a mid-80s splitter or changeup combination to keep hitters from sitting on his fastball.