Scott Kazmir’s velocity is down, pitches are up, numbers are awful -- but Dodgers don’t seem worried
The scout shook his head, delivering a two-word report on Dodgers pitcher Scott Kazmir.
“No bueno,” the scout said.
For the last two years, Kazmir’s fastball has averaged 91 mph, according to Fangraphs. On Monday, his fastball sat in the 86-89 mph range. The last time his fastball was so slow, in 2011, the results were so bad that the Angels released him, and it took him two years to recover the arm strength necessary to return to the major leagues.
After Kazmir posted a 17.18 earned-run average in his first two Cactus League starts, with opponents batting .571, the Dodgers used him in the controlled environment of a B game against the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
In the first inning, three of the first four batters got hits, and the Dodgers ended the inning because Kazmir had thrown enough pitches. In the second, two of the first three batters got hits, and the Dodgers ended that inning too. In the third, Kazmir mostly abandoned his fastball, and he hit two batters on breaking pitches.
Kazmir worked two more innings, retiring the side in order in each.
“My arm feels great,” Kazmir said.
He said he expects his velocity to increase as he builds arm strength for the season and wanted to focus on sharpening his mechanics.
“If I try to let it go too early, I find myself getting out of my delivery,” he said.
Manager Dave Roberts said Kazmir did not command his fastball well. If that improves, Roberts said Kazmir could win, even at slow speed.
“If the ball is down, he can get guys out,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers declined to match the Arizona Diamondbacks’ six-year, $206-million offer to Zack Greinke, then agreed to a three-year, $45-million deal with Hisashi Iwakuma. They declined to finalize the deal because of medical concerns, opting to sign Kazmir to a three-year, $48-million contract.
Iwakuma signed with the Seattle Mariners. He has a 0.00 ERA this spring.
The Dodgers have four starting pitchers in various stages of recovery from surgery: Brett Anderson (back), Brandon McCarthy (elbow), Frankie Montas (rib) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder). Alex Wood, who was scratched from his last start because of forearm soreness, is expected to throw a bullpen session Tuesday.
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