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Zumaya fine after fingernail scare

Zumaya fine after fingernail scare

DETROIT -- Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya felt funny even talking about a fingernail as a significant injury, but the news on Tuesday morning was a relief to Detroit fans.

What was feared to be a torn nail on Zumaya's index finger was actually just pulled back. It was enough to knock him out of Monday night's win over the Blue Jays because he couldn't throw his breaking ball, but he was available in the bullpen during the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader, even though he wasn't used.

The injury happened in Monday's eighth inning on his second pitch to Gregg Zaun, the last batter he faced. He tried to throw a breaking ball.

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"I throw it a certain way," Zumaya explained on Tuesday morning, "and when I threw that one, it just caught on the seams and pulled my nail back."

Knowing that, he called head athletic trainer Kevin Rand to the mound. He tried to see if he could throw a breaking ball in a warmup pitch, but couldn't get the feel for it.

"I'm not just going to go out there and throw a fastball," Zumaya said. "I've got to throw a breaking ball, and Zaun already saw it was my breaking ball. He was just going to sit on my fastball."

Because the nail was still attached, albeit cracked, the team medical staff was able to trim down the nail and apply some adhesive to it to keep it stuck to the skin.

Zumaya returned to action on Aug. 21 after missing 3 1/2 months with a torn tendon in his right middle finger. He suffered that injury throwing a breaking ball in the bullpen at Kansas City, and needed surgery to reattach the tendon.

"It's funny, because this year's been a little rough on me, man," Zumaya admitted. "I know a lot of hearts dropped last night worrying about my finger, and knowing that it was my other finger that [required surgery]. If it's not one finger, it's the other. I knew what was going through people's minds. Right when they saw it, they feared it was probably my finger that blew up again. I was trying to make it [apparent] it was my index finger.

"I hate to come off the field like that. It just makes me feel like I'm a little wimp. Next thing you know, it's all over the place: 'Zumaya comes out with a nail problem.'"

Meanwhile, catcher Ivan Rodriguez returned to the lineup with three hits Tuesday night after leaving Monday's game with dizziness. Rodriguez said he had been feeling that way for much of the day after taking a sleeping pill Sunday night, and coffee couldn't snap him out of it.

Backup Mike Rabelo was in the starting lineup for Tuesday's afternoon game. Rodriguez was available if needed, so the Tigers did not activate emergency backup Dane Sardinha to the 40-man roster.

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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