Kazmir on track to start Sunday
Rays ace LHP Scott Kazmir will make his first spring start Sunday against the Tigers after throwing a successful live batting practice Thursday morning.
Kazmir used all his pitches in his 33-throw session - his first since suffering a left elbow strain on Feb. 26. An admittedly "pumped up" Kazmir faced left-handed OF Jon Weber and right-handed INF Joel Guzman, who took their share of hacks at the plate. Kazmir said he "felt good," and mixed in five changeups and five sliders.
"Fastball was really alive, so was his slider - the slider had some nice bite too and a couple changeups," manager Joe Maddon said. "I saw nothing but good right there."
Kazmir was scheduled to start the Rays first intrasquad game Feb. 26 when something didn't feel right during warmups. The lefthander had suffered a left elbow strain, and has quickly rehabbed his way back with the hopes of making his third opening day start.
Kazmir said he'll probably throw one inning Sunday against the Tigers, and "play it by ear" after that in terms of uppping his workload. For one, C Mike DiFelice was just "happy to see (Kazmir) on the mound." DiFelice caught Kazmir when the ace first felt his elbow problem, and caught him again Thursday in the 8:15 a.m. session.
"The main thing was that he felt pain free and looked like he had a good rhythm, a nice flow," DiFelice said. "The ball came out of his hand nice."
The Rays host the Tigers Sunday at Progress Energy Park (1:05 pm).
-- JOE SMITH