If Scott Kazmir is making any progress in his attempt to salvage his career, there are no outward signs.
In his first (and so far only) start of the season for the Angels, Kazmir allowed five runs on five hits, two walks, a balk and two hit batters in 1 2/3 innings against the Royals on April 3. He was placed on the disabled list with what the team called lower back stiffness.
Seven weeks later, after spending a month in extended spring training trying to rediscover his mechanics and effective command of his pitches, Kazmir lasted just 1 2/3 innings Tuesday in his first rehab start for Class AAA Salt Lake. He retired the first four batters he faced but then allowed six runs on four walks, two hits and a hit batter. Kazmir threw 50 pitches, only 24 for strikes.
"I feel good. My arm feels strong and everything. I just have some things I'm trying to iron out," Kazmir said. "I'm not consistent at the plate, that's for sure. It's something where I'm just going to keep at it and keep working. Hopefully I'll be able to get something behind the ball a little bit and have good direction.
"It was kind of a flip of a coin if I was going to be able to get it over the plate. It really had no direction and no drive straight to the plate."
Though the Angels must be nearing the end of their rope with the Kazmir reclamation project, there is no reason for them to make a decision yet. Rehab assignments for pitchers have a 30-day limit.
"I think it's something where we were anticipating him starting to come around with some things and be more consistent with the way he's pitching. It's not happening," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think there's much sense in getting frustrated with it. We need to support Scott and give him the opportunity to move forward, and that's what we're going to do."
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