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Angels' Scott Kazmir thinks he's been treated fairly

The left-handed starter's month away from the team to work on his mechanics 'was necessary.'

May 22, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels starter Scott Kazmir delivers a pitch during an exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox this spring at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Angels starter Scott Kazmir delivers a pitch during an exhibition game… (Jake Roth / US Presswire )

Scott Kazmir joined the Angels on Sunday after what seemed like a monthlong exile in extended spring training, but there was no chip on his shoulder, no venom in his voice toward the team that seemed to banish him to Arizona.

"There's no issue there," Kazmir said when asked if he thinks he's been treated fairly. "It's a matter of me not rushing things and making progress instead of setting a time and date on when I need to get ready.

"That hasn't worked for me in the past. We've communicated the whole time. I feel it was necessary to take the steps we did."

Those steps seemed extreme, maybe even a little harsh, for a left-hander with six years of big league experience and a $12-million salary.

Kazmir struggled badly in 2010, going 9-15 with a 5.94 earned-run average, and after he was rocked for five runs and five hits in 1 2/3 innings of his first start this season, the Angels put him on the disabled list because of lower-back soreness.

Kazmir was throwing within two weeks, but instead of beginning a rehabilitation assignment with a minor league club, he was sent to extended spring training, where games start at 9 a.m. and are played before crowds resembling a high school junior varsity game.

He will finally begin a rehab stint with triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday.

"Of course, I felt isolated, but I think it was a good situation to still be in competitive games and face hitters," Kazmir said. "I got a chance to work on a lot of things. It's a humbling experience, to say the least, but I think I'm on the right track now.

"Trying to work through things as the season is going on, during those four days between starts, just wasn't helping. Every four days, I felt I had to change something, and I never got in a groove, I never got comfortable."

The Angels sent Kazmir to Arizona to find a consistent delivery and release point. Kazmir feels he needs to stop tinkering so much with his mechanics and regain a feel for pitching.

"There's quite a few things I've figured out, but I want to be vague with a lot of stuff, because what's gotten me in trouble before is thinking about one thing that might be a problem, and that leads to another thing and another thing," Kazmir said. "I just want to be myself and throw to the mitt, and I'm definitely making progress."

Extra credit

The Angels went extra innings for a major league-leading 11th time Saturday night, losing to the Braves, 5-4, in 12 innings.

The Angels were out-hit, 17-5, and they failed to get a hit after the fifth inning. The Braves scored the winning run when Alex Gonzalez singled, took second on Alexi Amarista's error and scored on Joe Mather's double.

Bobby Abreu (two-run homer) and Torii Hunter (two-run single) gave the Angels a 4-0 lead, but the Braves scored four runs in the seventh, which featured Mather's three-run homer against Angels starter Joel Pineiro.

The Angels are on pace to play 38 extra-inning games, and they have played 27 extra innings, the equivalent of three full games. The major league record for extra-inning games in a season is 31 by the 1943 Boston Red Sox.

Kendrick out

Howie Kendrick, who leads the Angels with a .322 average, received a cortisone injection Saturday in his right hamstring, which tightened up in Seattle on Thursday. He is not expected to return to the lineup until Tuesday night at the earliest.

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