TORONTO — LHP Scott Kazmir had had a bit of a rough Thursday anyway, what with being on the other side of Mark Buehrle's perfect game, when he got a call from his father, Eddie, asking about his name popping up in trade rumors.
Kazmir wasn't sure what to think. Reports have been sketchy, with the Angels mentioned, and the Rays have given no indication they are looking to deal him, though shedding his contract, with at least two years and $22.5 million remaining, might be appealing financially.
Friday, Kazmir sounded a bit disappointed in the possibility, saying he had a reason for agreeing in May 2008 to the new deal, which bought out at least his first year of free agency, 2011.
"I thought when I signed, it was kind of a bargain deal (for the team). And I'd be good to go, and I'd be here for a long time, at least until my contract ends," he said. "But who knows? That's baseball."
The Rays have said they are maxed out with this season's payroll at $63 million, and built-in increases — along with Carl Crawford's $10 million option — will push them to about $70 million in 2010. But they haven't said the payroll has to be cut.
Kazmir gets a chunk of it: $6 million this season, $8 million in 2010, $12 million in 2011, then either a $2.5 million buyout or $13.5 million option in 2012.
With that being the case, Kazmir said he expects the rumors to continue even if he isn't traded before the looming July 31 deadline for nonwaiver deals. Trading him might be tough anyway given his inconsistent performance (4-6, 6.69 ERA), mechanical issues and disabled list time.
"All you hear is that they're going to cut payroll and cut payroll for next year," he said. "So you do the math."
The reported interest from other teams can be taken as a compliment, Kazmir said, "but it's something you don't want to hear about."
"You signed a deal with them. You want to show the team that invested the money in you that you're worth every penny, and you're going to go out there and prove to them that you are worth it," he said. "That's the one thing that kind of bothers you there. That's the reason why I signed here. I wanted to be here."
REACHING OUT: Crawford is hosting about 300 kids from area Boys & Girls Clubs at the Trop on Wednesday for an event designed to encourage more African-Americans to get involved with baseball.
Crawford and buddy CC Sabathia of the Yankees will share stories of how they got involved. The kids have been invited to stay for batting practice, dinner and the game, courtesy of Crawford and the Rays.
DAVID'S DILEMMA: LHP David Price takes the mound today having shown improvement in his past two starts, cutting down his walks (three total) and going 1-1, 3.75, compared with 2-3, 5.21 in his first eight appearances, with 30 walks in 38 innings.
"It's better," Price said. "But it's not good enough. I expect great things out of myself every five days, whenever I get out there on the mound. Regardless of who we're facing, it doesn't really matter. I expect to go out there and win."
REHAB REPORT: LHP Brian Shouse hit a batter but otherwise had a clean ninth inning for Class A Charlotte in the second of consecutive appearances. If all feels well with his left elbow, which has sidelined him since late May, he's expected to return Monday. … C Shawn Riggans, also on rehab with Charlotte, was ejected for arguing a third strike.
MISCELLANY: The Rays are 3-2 in extra innings. … C Dioner Navarro did not start Friday because Maddon plans to play him today and Sunday against lefties. … RHP Lance Cormier was hobbling a bit from being hit on the left foot by a ball Thursday but was available. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson made a successful Triple-A debut for Durham, working six innings and allowing two runs on five hits.