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ANGELS FYI

Scott Kazmir has another bad minor league start, may be finished as an Angel

Struggling left-hander gives up six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings for Salt Lake, pushing his ERA with triple-A team to 17.02, and Angels may have to release him — and eat $14.5 million on his contract.

June 14, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir continues to struggle with the club's triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City.
Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir continues to struggle with the club's… (Eric Risberg / Associated…)

Reporting from Seattle — General Manager Tony Reagins was in Salt Lake City on Tuesday night for Scott Kazmir's triple-A start against Sacramento. If there was an air-sickness bag in the seat pocket in front of Reagins, he might have used it.

Kazmir didn't exactly impress the boss in his fifth rehabilitation start, pitching so poorly he may have officially punched his ticket out of Anaheim.

The struggling left-hander was tagged for six earned runs and five hits in 12/3 innings, walking three, striking out one and hitting a batter.

Kazmir retired only four of the 13 batters he faced, and he gave up all six runs in the second inning before being pulled. Of his 53 pitches, 25 were strikes.

The Angels had hoped a month in extended spring training in Arizona and another month in the minor leagues would help Kazmir regain the form that made him one of baseball's better young left-handers.

But Kazmir, who has lost considerable velocity on his fastball and command of all three of his pitches, has made no progress — he has a 17.02 earned-run average for Salt Lake, allowing 29 earned runs, 22 hits and 20 walks and striking out 14 in 151/3 innings.

Kazmir's 30-day rehab window would give him time to make one more start, but it appears the Angels will have no choice but to release him and absorb the $14.5 million on his 2011 contract.

Kazmir, 27, was acquired from Tampa Bay in August 2009 in what will go down as one of the team's worst trades ever.

Kazmir went 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last season, when he was paid $8 million. In his only start for the Angels this season, Kazmir gave up five runs and five hits, walked two and hit two batters in Kansas City on April 3.

He was then placed on the disabled list because of lower-back tightness and replaced in the rotation by 21-year-old right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who is 3-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 13 starts.

Division play

Baseball reportedly is considering a realignment that would push one team from the National League — most likely the Arizona Diamondbacks or Houston Astros — to the American League, a move that would create two 15-team leagues.

But if, in labor talks, baseball is considering the possibility of eliminating the three divisions in each league so that 15 teams would compete for five playoff spots in each league, that would be news to Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.

Scioscia is part of baseball's special committee for on-field matters, formed by Commissioner Bud Selig after the 2009 playoffs, and he strongly hinted Tuesday that if such a drastic measure were being seriously considered, as ESPN.com reported, it would have gone before the committee.

"Our committee has not discussed eliminating divisions," Scioscia said. "I haven't heard anything about that, and I don't think that would work.

"I think divisional play and geographical rivalries are important. You want to maximize those, and I think it gives many more teams opportunities to get into the playoffs."

Having two 15-team leagues would require at least one interleague series to be played at all times, "but I'd be OK with that," said Scioscia, who has been a strong critic of baseball's current scheduling format.

Short hops

Third baseman Maicer Izturis was held out of Tuesday night's lineup because of a sore left foot, an injury that is not serious. Andrew Romine, called up from Salt Lake on Sunday, made his first big league start at third base. . . . The Angels will probably decide by Thursday whether to put third baseman Alberto Callaspo (left hamstring pull) on the disabled list. They do not want to go into a nine-game stretch in National League parks short a position player. . . . Scioscia said there is a chance the Angels will use Thursday's off-day to skip Chatwood in the rotation.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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