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)

Tampa Bay Rays starter Scott Kazmir says mechanics are improving, expects quick return

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Scott Kazmir said he feels as if he's getting close to rejoining the Rays.

Though there's no timetable, Kazmir said his recent bullpen session went "great" and he'll throw another one today.

Kazmir, on the disabled list with a right quad strain, said he has found a big source for his mechanical issues. He hopes that by keeping his arm strength up, he can avoid needing a minor-league rehab assignment before being activated.

"Realistically, I think I'm really far along where I want to be," Kazmir said. "I feel like I'm close. I want to get out there as quick as possible. It's killing me being on the DL; I feel like I can contribute now, but I want to go out there and have everything right."

Manager Joe Maddon has said they are going to be patient with Kazmir's rehab, wanting to make sure his quad is right then straightening out his mechanics.

Kazmir said a possible root of his bad habits is that after he worked his way back in May 2008 from a left elbow strain, he stopped doing as much long-toss because he felt discomfort.

"It wasn't me stretching my arm out," Kazmir said. "It wasn't keeping it in shape. It was me getting loose and then shutting it down. What happened because of that, I was cutting everything off; I started just developing bad habits. And now with me throwing long toss almost every day, I'm getting that extension."

When asked if there could be a minor-league rehab assignment, Kazmir said, "That's what I'm trying to avoid; that's why I'm trying to keep my arm strength up, so I don't have to build back up. It's something that if I come back in 10-15 days, that I feel I won't need that to stay on track."

Return to form?: Maddon said he believes struggling RHP Andy Sonnanstine is going to step up, and he is eager to see if the right-hander can make the necessary adjustments tonight.

Sonnanstine (3-5, 7.66 ERA) gave up a career-high eight runs in three innings in his last start.

"Of course we want him to pitch at a better level than he is," Maddon said. "His ERA is very high, and he's had some difficult moments. We talked about it a couple days ago about him pitching more inside, but we've been looking even deeper, and we think we found some other items that are kind of interesting."

At the top: CF B.J. Upton will return to the leadoff spot tonight, Maddon said, adding he still "believes in him," despite his .204 average, and is not planning on moving him down in the order.

"Like I said, the biggest sticking point there for me is him and how he's reacting to the whole thing, and he's reacted really well," Maddon said. "So I'd like to think a couple days will get him straightened out a little bit more mentally.

"I still believe in him; I believe he's really going to catch fire. And when you've seen it the times it's happened when him and Carl (Crawford) get on at the same time, it's real fun to watch."

Maddon did say he spoke to Upton about not trying to get back to .300 "overnight."

"I think that the guys really lose track of the one-day-at-a-time situation, when you get mired in that kind of a moment," Maddon said. "With everything, I've just tried to have him understand it's going to happen, be patient and let it happen naturally."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Tampa Bay Rays starter Scott Kazmir says mechanics are improving, expects quick return 06/01/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 6:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Muslim faith greater than fear for Wharton's Rania Samhouri (w/video)


    TAMPA — Rania Samhouri graduated Monday night from Wharton High School, and many times throughout the ceremony she flashed back to a moment that changed her life.

     Rania Samhouri stretches after track practice on Monday April 24, 2017 at Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida. Rania, who is Muslim, recently started wearing her hijab during track competitions. She graduates from Wharton this year and will attend University of South Florida on scholarship next year.
  2. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  3. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  4. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.