Kazmir pitches well in simulated game; says will make start for Class-A Charlotte
Update 5:57 . Maddon was encouraged with how LHP Scott Kazmir looked during his simulated game Friday, saying Kazmir is ready for the next step - a start with Class A Charlotte next week - and then he'll get-revaluated.
"He threw the ball well," Maddon said. "His delivery looked really good, he's healthy. He looked good."
The key, Maddon said, is getting Kazmir's arm strength back up, with the fear that if they do too much, too soon, that could lead to injury. So Maddon said Kazmir will move up to 60-70 pitches in his next start, and then go from there, with him possibly needing two or three starts before he rejoins the Rays.
"We've gotta be really careful how we bring him back, cause i thought he loked pretty darn good," Maddon said.
LHP Scott Kazmir was encouraged with how he felt after throwing a three-inning (44 pitches) simulated game Friday afternoon at the Tropicana Field.
Kazmir, who is on the DL with a right quad strain (and to rework his mechanics) said his direction is good, delivery feels good, and both his changeup and slider have more bite (and hitters said his fastball has more life). He said the next step is making a start next week in Port Charlotte, a five or six inning outing in five days and see where he's at from there.
Kazmir was watched by manager Joe Maddon, pitching coach Jim Hickey, executive VP Andrew Friedman and assistant to the pitching coach Brian Anderson, who was "thoroughly encouraged and impresed"
"He showed as much command as I've seen from him," Anderson said. "He had a really good changeup, he was able to get his fastball consistently in on righties, which is a big key for him. If he does that, everything else falls in to place. He had the best slider I had ever seen from him....That's was what I heard about when I heard about Kaz's slider. That has to be close to what that was, because that was nasty."
"Put it this way, if his stamina was where you'd like it to be, I would take that out on the mound tonight and feel really good about my chances of winning...Life on the fastball, good explosion at the end, good late movement, changeup was good, slider was good, threw strikes - and threw strikes to both sides of the plate."
"I'm telling you right now, if that kid had 100 pitches in him, you'd run him out there tonight and he'd go six or seven (innings) and win."
Kazmir faced Joe Dillon, Gabe Kapler and Reid Brignac. Said Dillon: "He looked good."
-- JOE SMITH