Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays, Scott Kazmir examine sources of pitcher's troubles

BOSTON — The problem, according to all parties, is not in LHP Scott Kazmir's arm.

His slight drop in velocity and latest maddening habit of struggling in the first inning are not the product of an injury or physical problem, he and the Rays say.

So as Kazmir prepares for today's start, he talked, as he has before, about it being a matter of mechanics — of needing to be more direct to the plate, getting better extension, having more torque in his delivery and being aggressive from the first pitch.

After extensive video work this week, Kazmir is confident that with a few changes, including a quicker tempo at the start of his delivery, he will be better.

"I feel like I'm really getting on to something," Kazmir said.

But there's another line of thinking in the clubhouse, that Kazmir's problems may be that he's thinking too much.

"Scott often talks about the mechanics and feeling off and things like this, and I'm quite certain there are issues with mechanics at times and all that, but I'm not really convinced that everything is just mechanical," pitching coach Jim Hickey said.

The early struggles — a 12.00 ERA and 10 walks in his six first innings (to 18 in his other 27), and 2-0, 3-0 and 4-0 deficits in the first frame of his three losses — may be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"These things, whether it's a hitting slump or a pitching slump or something in particular, like I can't hit a left-handed pitcher or I have trouble with a curveball, it almost tends to fulfill itself. And I think the first-inning struggles have become a little bit less mechanical and a little bit more about that," Hickey added. "You know you have first-inning problems so you try extra hard to not have these first-inning problems, and the next thing you know you've got first-inning problems. And it's a here-we-go-again type of thing, and it becomes very, very frustrating."

RIGGANS SETBACK: The Rays won't know how big of a setback backup C Shawn Riggans (right shoulder) had until after he sees orthopedist James Andrews on Monday.

Riggans, on the disabled list since April 10 with tendinitis, was removed from Thursday's rehab game after experiencing discomfort on a pickoff throw.

"It's never good when you have to take a guy out like that," manager Joe Maddon said. "Even going down there I know he was feeling better, but I wasn't totally convinced. I know how badly he wanted to get back here. We'll just have to find out medically where it is. I'm not overtly optimistic that he'll be back any time soon right now."

Riggans was aiming to rejoin the Rays on Sunday. Michel Hernandez, who started Friday as Dioner Navarro got a night off, remains the primary backup.

KENNEDY SENT TO A'S: The Rays kept their word with Adam Kennedy, trading the veteran infielder to Oakland for a minor-league position player (to be named in the next week or so) and cash.

When the Rays signed Kennedy after he was released by St. Louis just before spring training, there was an understanding that if he didn't make their squad and went to Triple-A Durham that they wouldn't keep him from an opportunity to get back to the big leagues. So when the A's, with 2B Mark Ellis out four to six weeks due to a left calf strain, called, the Rays followed through.

"It's an extended opportunity for Adam, and we weren't going to stand in the way," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "It made sense for him and we made the best of it."

Kennedy was hitting .280 in 23 games at Durham with three homers and nine RBIs, playing first, second and third.

MISCELLANY: CF B.J. Upton started after missing Thursday's game due to an intestinal bug. … 1B Carlos Peña and 3B Evan Longoria were the first teammates to reach 30 RBIs in the first 30 games of a season since Seattle's Alex Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez in 2000. … Ex-Ray Rocco Baldelli is likely to be in the Boston lineup today. … RHP Jason Isringhausen allowed three runs in a two-inning rehab stint for Durham.

Tampa Bay Rays, Scott Kazmir examine sources of pitcher's troubles 05/08/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 9, 2009 6:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)