Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)


Rays ace Kazmir upbeat but in no rush to return

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Scott Kazmir felt good Monday after throwing his first bullpen session since suffering a left elbow strain Feb. 26.

Although the Rays ace is targeting Sunday for his exhibition debut, he didn't appear as adamant about making a third straight opening day start, March 31 in Baltimore.

"Sure, it's a goal for me, but I'm not going to rush anything," Kazmir said. "Whatever happens, happens. I realize that it's not going to be that big of a difference going from opening day to maybe Game 2 or Game 3. We're just going to take our time and make sure that everything's strong and we stretched it out and didn't rush it."

Kazmir said he threw about 20 fastballs and 15-20 breaking balls (changeups and sliders) Monday, with "everything feeling free and easy." But in trying to get accustomed to being on the mound after two weeks away, he said he'll throw during batting practice Thursday. Kazmir, 24, said his mechanics were fine, the only small issue was his release point.

"I'm happy where we're at right now," he said.

ROSTER MOVES: The Rays made their first roster cuts of the spring, reassigning to minor-league camp RHP Wade Davis, LHP Jake McGee and C Matt Spring and optioning out OF Fernando Perez, LHP James Houser and C John Jaso.

Davis and McGee, two of the Rays' top pitching prospects, took the news in stride, saying it was a great learning experience. Next year, they hope to be playing for keeps.

"After I got up here around this atmosphere, it's kind of like, 'Get back up here,'  " Davis said with a grin. "I'd like to be a part of what I think is going to happen here. I don't want to show up too late for it."

NO CONCERNS: The Rays say they are not worried about any retaliation by the Yankees on Wednesday despite some veiled threats by New York's Shelley Duncan.

"Hell no," OF Jonny Gomes said. "We'll take care of it. We got some athletes over here."

Manager Joe Maddon said he considered the matter, which started Saturday with criticism by Yankees manager Joe Girardi, to be over: "I stand by what we said, now it's just time to play the game."

If anything, the Rays seem amused by the way the Yankees have reacted.

"Who would have thought the Rays are No. 1 on their mind on March 10?" Gomes said.

HAMMEL ROUGHED UP: For the second straight day, a candidate for the final two rotation spots struggled in his outing. RHP Jason Hammel gave up nine runs and nine hits and three walks in just more than three innings of a 12-10 loss to the Indians. Hammel said he was pleased that he was attacking hitters, saying he adjusted well in the scoreless second and third. Maddon said Hammel got away from the game plan in the fourth. "I was down in the zone for the most part, but too many balls at the hips," Hammel said.

MISCELLANY: CF B.J. Upton hit his first homer of the spring, a two-run blast in the third. … LF Carl Crawford is one of several regulars not making the trip today to Fort Myers against the Twins, meaning there will be no Crawford conversation with former Ray Delmon Young.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at

Rays ace Kazmir upbeat but in no rush to return 03/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, March 10, 2008 9:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return


    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  3. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  5. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.