Some years back, the Sultan Of Sloth was diagnosed with gout, yet refused to stop drinking. That’s really the only comparison I can make to Joel Zumaya’s impressive devotion to this generation’s finest party ice-breaker (well, other than crystal meth), Guitar Hero. From the Detroit News’ Tom Gage.

Was it or was it not the culprit?

Tigers right-hander Joel Zumaya is so concerned the video game Guitar Hero was the source of his late-season forearm problems last year that HE’S STILL PLAYING IT.

And he doesn’t plan to stop.

“It’s kind of a little hobby I have,” Zumaya said on Monday at the Tigers’ complex, where he has preceded the official opening of spring training with several unofficial workouts.

“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.”

If not the game, then what was the cause?

“I think it was just me gripping the ball hard,” Zumaya said. “I grip the ball hard, I throw the ball hard and it spasmed up pretty good in there.”

When asked if Zumaya had been told to stop playing Guitar Hero, Dave Dombrowski said Monday, “we didn’t get into the specifics of how much he should or shouldn’t play it.

“It’s not like we ordered him never to play it again. Besides, the game itself wasn’t the problem. It was the amount he was playing it.”

The excessive amount, in turn, drew excessive attention — much to the delight of the manufacturer.

“I even got free stuff from Guitar Hero,” Zumaya said, “because of all the publicity I gave it.”