To those who insist Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya hurt his arm last season by playing too much air-guitar in his spare time, the pitcher has a ready reply: Long live rock!
Zumaya, who enters home games with ''Voodoo Child,'' by Jimi Hendrix blasting over the P.A. system, told the Detroit News that he refuses to give up playing the video game ''Guitar Hero,'' even though the Tigers believe that was the cause of his late-season forearm troubles.
''They had a tough time trying to find out what was wrong with my arm,'' Zumaya said, ''and I told them I was playing this guitar game. I don't believe that's what it was, and to tell you the truth, I haven't stopped playing it.
''A lot of people have criticized me and told me, 'Joel, put it away.' But I'm still going to play it. Just not as often.''
Besides, injury risk or not, the game has its benefits for Zumaya, who threw several pitches timed over 100 mph last season.
''I even got free stuff from 'Guitar Hero,' '' he said, ''because of all the publicity I gave it.''