Kazmir, Howell to pitch in WBC
LHPs Scott Kazmir and J.P. Howell will pitch for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, forcing them to miss a good portion of spring training with the Rays.
Kazmir, who missed the first five weeks of last season with an elbow strain, said he felt fine and was looking forward to the opportunity to represent the U.S.
"I'm ready,'' he said Thursday night. "My arm feels good, my body feels good, I'm excited.''
Pitchers' workloads are closely monitored under WBC rules, but the high-profile nature of the tournament leads players to compete at a much higher level than if they were in spring training. "The intensity will be a lot higher, but there's not going to be that many pitches, so I think we'll be fine,'' Kazmir said. "So that's all good.''
Howell said he was was initially unsure about participating after last season’s heavy workload (89 1/3 innings during the season, 12 more in the post-season), but changed his mind after he recently started throwing. “I feel good enough,’’ he said.
2B Akinori Iwamura (Japan) and 1B Carlos Pena (Dominican Republic) and RHP Grant Balfour (Australia) are also expected to participate.