Bad News Rays
By Tom Brew
Tampa Bay’s only reliable starting pitcher, 22-year-old All-Star Scott Kazmir, might be done for the season. The Devil Rays placed him on the disabled list after Friday’s game for what they said were precautionary reasons and don’t know when he will next pitch.
Kazmir, their prized 22-year-old left-hander, was on the DL from July 24 through Aug. 11 due to shoulder inflammation. He has made three starts since and, while getting decent results (0-1, 2.25 ERA, 24 strikeouts in 16 innings), has not looked as smooth mechanically as the Rays would like. They are concerned about an adjustment in his delivery to protect the shoulder and they don’t want to risk further damage.
“The last couple outings, we’re concerned that he’s starting to change his arm stroke a little bit because of the tightness in his shoulder on occasion,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “So we don’t want to risk him doing anything improper by throwing in a different manner.”
Kazmir said it seems to be an issue when he is warming up, a process that has been taking longer than usual. But he said he actually has been feeling better and is not concerned about potential further injury.
“It’s a good idea to take some time to let this run its course and get rid of it completely,” he said. “I’m fine with it.”
What the Rays don’t know is whether Kazmir’s season is over or if he will return as he hopes for the final three weeks.
“It’s possible (his season is over), but if he feels really good, I’d like him to (pitch),” Maddon said.
Kazmir, 10-8 with a 3.24 ERA, has thrown 144 2/3 innings this season. Meantime, continue to
bet against the Devil Rays on the road. They’ve been respectable at home this year, but they are horrific away from Florida. They just got swept in Baltimore, and I don’t see this trend changing.
Since the All-Star break they are 1-18 on the road, and it doesn’t get any easier when they leave Baltimore. After that, they make their only trip to Chicago to face the White Sox, so keep going in that direction. It’s easy money.