Kazmir hopes session will fix mechanics
Left-hander still working his way back from elbow injury
TORONTO -- It is no secret that Rays starter Scott Kazmir struggled in his season debut last Sunday against the Red Sox. However, the pitcher was quick to identify his problem as mechanics and used a bullpen session on Wednesday to correct the issue.
"Everything I was throwing [in the session] was right on point," said Kazmir on Thursday. "I was hitting every one of my spots. The slider was working good, the changeup was working good. More importantly everything was sound. Everything just felt like it was perfect mechanics."
The 24-year-old left-hander was sidelined for the first month of the season with a left-elbow injury he suffered in Spring Training. Making his first start of the season in Boston over the weekend, Kazmir did not fare well, allowing four runs -- three earned -- on six hits over four innings. He walked three batters and struck out five.
"Maybe I was a little bit too amped up," said Kazmir. "I don't know what it was, but I was just flying open with everything. Everything felt good until right when I was about to throw the ball [in the first inning], then I would just fly open. My front side would not stay closed. It was just me trying to find my release point the whole game."
However, after watching video of himself with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, combined with the successful bullpen session, Kazmir is happy to have corrected his problems.
"That's a big step," he said. "Getting a bullpen [session] like that, to go the whole entire bullpen and feel very comfortable. I'm happy with what we've got now. It feels like I'm staying tall and I'm not overthrowing. The ball is coming out good. That's what I want."
In 34 starts last season, the Tampa Bay starter was 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA. He struck out 239 batters in just 206 2/3 innings.
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.