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Notes: Zumaya starts workouts

Notes: Zumaya starts workouts

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland has to prepare as if he won't have Joel Zumaya back this season. Zumaya is proceeding as if he could be back at the end of July.

"If it goes all good and I'm 110 percent, I would give myself six weeks from now," Zumaya said on Tuesday. "Hopefully."

Even if he isn't back then, he plans on being back sometime by season's end.

"Definitely," he said. "If we're in the playoffs, I'm going to be right there chugging with them. And watch out, because I'll be 110 percent."

The extra 10 percent probably won't be in miles per hour, but the extra energy should be noticeable. It was apparent as he talked with reporters on Tuesday in the Tigers clubhouse, where he returned for the first time in over a month since surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger.

Zumaya had the cast removed from his right hand and forearm on Monday, allowing his arm to breathe for the first time since the procedure. He can now begin a strength and conditioning program along with hand therapy, such as squeezing to help strengthen the finger.

"I'm trying to get back," Zumaya said, "but I'm not going to rush myself. I want to rush myself, but I'm not."

He's scheduled to revisit the specialist who handled the operation, Dr. Charles Melone, in New York on July 11 for a progress report. If he's cleared then, he can start throwing again.

Simply getting the cast off was a huge piece of progress. Zumaya couldn't do much of any exercise with it on, but he eventually started running out of restlessness. He was at home in San Diego helping his fiancée plan for their wedding next year during the day, and watching the Tigers on television around the evening.

Monday, then, was a big step for him. Beyond the freedom of using his hand, it meant he was rejoining the team for his workouts.

"I was like a little kid eating a lollipop yesterday when that cast came off," he said.

How he'll respond once he's ready to throw remains to be seen. Zumaya said the medical staff hasn't given him any instructions on his pitching and how it should be affected by what he was told was a "freak injury." Dr. Melone, he said, was pleasantly surprised by the progress of the finger. By sewing the tendon back together, it's expected to be stronger than it was before the injury.

The one change Zumaya might make is to tone down his warmup tosses in the bullpen, not necessarily throwing pitches at full strength. His mechanics, though, are going to stay the same.

"I'm not going to change the way I grip the ball," he said. "I'm not going to change the way I throw the ball. That's the way I throw a baseball. That's the way I've learned to grip the ball. If I try something new, you never know, I could go downhill from there. I think people want to see 100 [mph] up there and striking out people and getting those holes and helping my closer. I'm not going to change anything at all."

Guillen out: Carlos Guillen said he'll probably be out until at least Thursday with a right hamstring spasm he suffered on Sunday.

"I don't think [Wednesday]," he said, "but maybe the day after."

The hamstring flared up Sunday when he mishandled a Carlos Delgado ground ball up the middle, but he said it had been bothering him for a couple days before that. He felt well enough to play through it, but the awkward stride he took trying to recover the ball set it off.

Rogers update: There was still no official word on Kenny Rogers' next rehab start, other than it will take place. With both Triple-A Toledo and Double-A Erie on road trips to the Northeast, he's expected to pitch on Friday night for Class A West Michigan, likely going for five innings or so. That won't be certain until Rogers throws his side session on Wednesday at Comerica Park.

Rogers wants to stretch himself in a rehab start to the point where he feels tired. He felt better than he expected in his first outing on Sunday night for Toledo, but he wasn't stretched far in his four-inning, 51-pitch performance.

"You want to get out there and get fatigued," he said. "I don't want to hit one in a certain inning here when it isn't appropriate."

Break a toe: Brandon Inge's fractured left toe is still in pain when he takes off running or hits anything, but his hitting hasn't been this healthy all season. Since returning to the lineup a week ago, he's 9-for-21 with two home runs, 10 RBIs and six runs scored.

As odd as it sounds, Inge has a theory for it.

"I think it's actually a blessing in disguise," he said. "From time to time, I get a little bit lungy out there and get a little too antsy to hit. When I messed up my toe, it forced me to stay back a little bit and forced me to see the ball better and not try to do too much."

Coming up: Mike Maroth (4-2, 5.29) will try for his first home victory this season Wednesday night in the middle game of the series against the Brewers. Chris Capuano (5-5, 4.35), who struck out eight Tigers over seven innings with three runs allowed last year at Miller Park, will start for Milwaukee. Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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