Since his resurrection as a big league pitcher, the one thing that Scott Kazmir has done consistently is walk fewer than 3.0 batters per nine innings, but he blew past that mark in 2016 to post his highest rate of free passes since 2010. He kept up the strikeouts for the first half of the season, but the swing-and-miss stuff was missing after the All-Star break and Kazmir was felled in late August by pain in his neck and rib cage. Later diagnosed with spine inflammation, the disappointing strike zone numbers are consistent with a pitcher who was battling injury or discomfort, while Kazmir's 5.40 ERA and 20:13 K:BB in his final 31.2 frames serve as further evidence that something was amiss. He chose not to opt out of his contract this offseason, so the Dodgers will owe him $32 million over the next two seasons. Given their internal pitching depth, he is not a lock to hold a spot in the rotation over the remainder of his current deal.
Kazmir (ribs) threw a lengthy bullpen session -- his second in the past three days -- and appears to be healthy heading into Cactus League action, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Kazmir was shut down at the tail end of last season with intercostal spasms, but with two pain-free bullpen sessions in the books, it appears he is ready to compete for the Dodgers' fifth rotation spot. With 11 starting pitchers in camp and only one spot currently up for grabs, the veteran will have to stand out this spring to earn that final bid. Kazmir posted a sub-par 4.56 ERA in 26 starts with the Dodgers last year. His strikeouts (8.9 K/9) and walks (3.4 BB/9) were around his career marks, but the southpaws inability to keep the ball in the yard (1.4 HR/9) caused the steep jump in ERA from his 3.10 mark in 2015.
Kazmir (ribs) threw a 25-pitch batting practice session on Sunday and showed no signs of injury, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. This is an encouraging report from Dodgers' camp, as Kazmir's 2016 season ended prematurely due to intercostal spasms. It sounds like he's progressed well since then. If healthy, the 33-year-old could occupy the team's No. 5 spot in the starting rotation to start the season.
Kazmir (ribs) did not opt out of the final two years of his contract with the Dodgers, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reports. He remains with the Dodgers and is slated to make $32 million over the next two seasons. Sherman speculates that Kazmir could draw interest on the trade market, but given his contract, the Dodgers would be unlikely to receive much of value back unless they covered some of the dollars remaining on Kazmir's contract. Kazmir looks like a back-end starter with durability issues at this point, and is not a lock to remain in the Dodgers' rotation all season, even if he stays healthy. He missed the final weeks of the season due to intercostal spasms.
Kazmir exited Friday's start against the Rockies with right intercostal spasms after just one inning of work, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports. The exact severity of Kazmir's injury remains unclear, but this was obviously a disappointing outing for the veteran, especially since he was just activated off the DL for Friday's start after dealing with separate neck and blister issues. Ross Stripling took over for Kazmir in the second inning.
Kazmir (neck, blister) will start Friday against the Rockies, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. Considered a 60-day DL candidate just days ago after he developed a blister during a sim game, Kazmir was able to flip the script with a successful 35-pitch bullpen session Tuesday. Kazmir hit the DL on Aug. 23 and was later diagnosed with thoracic spine inflammation. He may not be able to give the Dodgers much length in his return but the Dodgers have plenty of relief options to pick up the slack.