Zumaya pleased with first outing of '09

Zumaya pleased with first outing of '09

KANSAS CITY -- So far, so good for Joel Zumaya.

The hard-throwing right-hander broke the ice on Saturday night with his first regular-season appearance since Aug. 12, 2008. Working the ninth inning with the Tigers up 9-1, Zumaya allowed two singles but escaped unscathed by getting Kansas City's Billy Butler to hit into a double play. Zumaya, who had been sidelined since March 27 with a sore right shoulder, experienced no discomfort throwing the ball and is eager to build on his initial outing.

"It was exciting," Zumaya said. "I just wanted to throw strikes and get my team off the field. I'm fine. My arm is 100 percent."

Zumaya wants to gain more consistency with his curve in upcoming outings.

"My breaking ball was a little erratic," Zumaya said. "That's my hips flying. I'll come along. I know I've got it and I know I can throw it for strikes."

Manager Jim Leyland gave Zumaya passing marks for his first outing of 2009.

"First night back -- OK," Leyland said. "He's going to need his curveball. They centered the ball pretty good off him. And he's going to need to pitch up a little bit more. You've got to change the eye level and elevate some."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.