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Angels release ex-Ray Kazmir

SEATTLE — The Angels gave up on former Rays ace Scott Kazmir, releasing the once- promising starter.

Kazmir, 27, was given his release Wednesday. A two-time All-Star with Tampa Bay, Kazmir has declined rapidly since being acquired by the Angels in August 2009.

"Right now it's the best thing for (Kazmir)," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully he can get off that treadmill and restore his career, because he was really struggling trying to get the ability to compete again, and I mean get his tools where can compete again up here."

The breaking point for the Angels came Tuesday night when Kazmir made his fifth rehab start with Triple-A Salt Lake and gave up six earned run and five hits in 12/3 innings. In five starts with Salt Lake, Kazmir had a 17.02 ERA in 151/3 innings.

Kazmir made one start for the Angels this season, giving up five earned runs in 12/3 innings on April 3 against Kansas City. He was placed on the disabled list April 8 with lower-back soreness.

The Angels acquired Kazmir for INF Sean Rodriguez and two minor-leaguers, LHP Alex Torres and 1B Matt Sweeney.

"I don't have any regrets," general manager Tony Reagins told the Los Angeles Times. "At the time of the deal, we were in position to go to the postseason, and Kaz pitched pretty well for us down the stretch. Obviously, things went in a different direction after that. But you make decisions in this business and live with the consequences."

Kazmir was one of baseball's best prospects when the Rays acquired him from the Mets in July 2004 for RHP Victor Zambrano. A year later he was Tampa Bay's best pitcher, and he made his first All-Star Game appearance in 2006.

In 2007, Kazmir went 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA and an AL-high 239 strikeouts, still a Rays record. He was an All-Star again in 2008 but struggled in the second half and labored during the postseason.

His velocity dropping, Kazmir pitched poorly for the Rays in 2009 before being dealt.

MAUER BACK: Joe Mauer's return to the Twins' lineup was set for Friday. The All-Star catcher hasn't played for Minnesota since April 12, plagued by weakness and soreness in his legs and throwing (right) shoulder. In other Twins news, SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka was reinstated from the 60-day DL. Nishioka broke his lower left leg April 8.

BONDS TRIAL: Barry Bonds' attorneys filed a motion asking a judge to change an obstruction of justice conviction to an acquittal or schedule a new trial.

ASTROS: RH reliever Brandon Lyon went on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right biceps less than a week after returning from the DL.

BRAVES: Jason Heyward returned from a shoulder injury and started in rightfield. OF Matt Young was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

CARDINALS: LF Matt Holliday, who has missed 13 games with a left quad strain, is expected to be activated today.

DODGERS: 3B Casey Blake, who was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game with a sore neck, got a cortisone injection in the hopes he can return Friday.

MARLINS: RHP Josh Johnson, out since May 21 with shoulder inflammation, was transferred from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list and won't return until after the All-Star break.

NATIONALS: 1B Adam LaRoche is scheduled to have season-ending surgery today to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

ORIOLES: RH reliever Alfredo Simon went on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring injury. RHP Jason Berken was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.

Angels release ex-Ray Kazmir 06/15/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:58am]

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