DETROIT -- Joel Zumaya's throwing program is on hold again after he had some discomfort at the end of a light-tossing session on Thursday, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Sunday morning.
It was the first time Zumaya had thrown in three weeks, after noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews examined his surgically repaired right elbow in mid-February and recommended rest before throwing again. No major structural damage was found, but doctors were still struggling to figure out the cause of the discomfort. Zumaya had surgery last year to repair a fractured bone at the tip of the elbow, a procedure that involved inserting a screw to stabilize the joint.
The next step, Rand said, is to let Zumaya rest for a couple days and see if he improves.
Rand said team doctors and Dr. Andrews, who has been consulting on Zumaya's situation for the last couple years, have a conference call scheduled for Monday to discuss what's going on.
Dr. Andrews examined Zumaya's elbow in person last week before clearing him to begin throwing. There's no answer yet as to whether Zumaya could be examined again.
Benoit to be carefully used by Leyland
DETROIT -- The Tigers signed Joaquin Benoit to be their eighth-inning setup man this year. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll never pitch in the seventh inning, but it would take a very rare occasion for manager Jim Leyland to do that.
Likewise, it would take a rare occasion for the skipper to pitch Benoit for longer than an inning.
"I'm really trying to stay away from that," Leyland said Sunday morning. "I'm trying to protect him. We have him [under contract] for three years. This guy's a gem."
The protection stems in large part from the labrum reconstruction Benoit underwent in 2009. It's normally a career-threatening procedure, with less consistent results than Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, but Benoit beat the odds and came back as a dominant pitcher last year.
Most of his success last year came in an eighth-inning setup role, and in single-inning doses. Just seven of his 63 appearances lasted more than three outs, and his instance of throwing more than 25 pitches were even more rare.
The only time he might pitch the seventh inning, Leyland indicated, is in a lopsided game on a day when he needs to pitch to stay fresh.
Perry's DL stint expected to be minimal
DETROIT -- It's looking like Ryan Perry's stay on the disabled list will be minimal. The right-handed reliever threw Sunday morning as he tries to keep his arm fresh while his infected left eye heals.
Perry's eye infection prevents him from wearing contacts, which prevents him from pitching in games. His astigmatism can't be corrected well enough with glasses to let him play, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. Moreover, the infection leaves his eye sensitive to light.
Physically, however, he's perfectly fine. So once he was cleared, he donned a pair of sunglasses and threw.
Perry's DL stint was retroactive to April 5. He's eligible to return April 20, the final day of the Tigers' upcoming seven-game West Coast road trip. Since it's an early afternoon game in Seattle, the Tigers could wait until they return home on April 22.