The last time we saw Scott Kazmir was exactly ten days ago. He was ordered off the mound after throwing just one pitch in the second inning of a game against the Rockies.
He was scheduled to throw two innings that day, but that didn’t happen. He later said he was not able to loosen up during his pre-game warm ups, and as a result, he was unable to get any velocity on his pitches.
While his team was playing the Cubs, Kazmir was throwing a simulated game on a side field. The results for both were less than satisfactory. The big club was blanked 4-0 by the reigning world champions, and Kazmir once again drew a blank in the hunt for the speed on his fastball.
Kazmir threw 71 pitches against three minor leaguers in a simulated five-inning game. Kazmir reported feeling good afterward.
“I feel close, really close. I was able to keep my tempo, keep my balance and use this hip to get through. It’s a lot of things that we have to focus on. It’s just a matter of putting that altogether.” – Scott Kazmir
That was his side of the story. I’m glad his optimism is intact, but I’m not exactly seeing things through the feel good filters that Kazmir is. He gave up two home runs to his batters, threw about 45% of his pitches out of the strike zone, and most telling, his top velocity hovered in the 82-84 mph range. I’m figuring those facts are giving the Dodgers reason for concern.
In Kazmir’s defense, he’s battling back from injuries that stemmed from past injuries. He’s been harrassed by a stiff hip for (at least) the past couple of years, and he brought neck and shoulder aggravation upon himself when he over-compensated for that hip.
He’s been having a very lackluster spring, and I could see him possibly not giving his all in today’s bullpen session. Perhaps he was only focused on mechanics, and hoping velocity and strikes will naturally follow. That’s one way to see today’s workout.
Another positive is Kazmir reporting that he feels good. If he wasn’t looking for anything other than proper mechanics today, and he feels good tomorrow, I would expect him to throw harder and for more strikes the next time.
One can approach things with baby steps, but with Opening Day fast approaching, and Hyun-Jin Ryu making steady progress, I would be looking for Scott Kazmir to take a giant leap…and soon.