Kazmir to make debut on Wednesday
Left-hander expected to throw side session on Sunday
ANAHEIM -- Scott Kazmir, the Angels' new left-handed starter with All-Star credentials, spoke with manager Mike Scioscia on Saturday, firming up the decision to have Kazmir make his debut on Wednesday in Seattle against the Mariners.
Kazmir, who was undergoing physical exams, plans to be in uniform on Sunday in the series finale against the Athletics and will throw a bullpen session, according to Scioscia.
"Most likely," Scioscia said on Saturday, "we'll fold him into the rotation on Wednesday. He'll throw a bullpen tomorrow. He likes to throw his bullpen three days before he pitches."
Kazmir will be pitching with six days' rest. Scioscia decided not to push any starters back to slot him in earlier, giving the new guy a chance to get comfortable in his surroundings.
Moving from one contender to another, Kazmir's transition should be eased by similar systems and approaches. His new manager is a close friend of Rays skipper Joe Maddon, who became Tampa Bay's manager after serving as Scioscia's bench coach with the Angels.
Another important connection is Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher, who spent the 2006 season as Maddon's pitching coach with the Rays and had a strong working relationship with Kazmir.
"There's a comfort level Mike had with Scott in Tampa," Scioscia said. "It'll help him get comfortable here.
"For a couple years we've really appreciated Scott's ability and have been interested in acquiring him. We weren't able to work it out until now. 'Butch' saw his last two games, every pitch, on video. Scott's in a real good place throwing the ball."
Kazmir is 8-7 with a 5.92 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 50 walks in 111 innings this season. But his past three outings have been among his best. He struck out 10 with only one walk in six innings in his most recent start at Toronto on Wednesday, giving up only one earned run and four hits but not getting a decision.
That came after back-to-back wins at home against Texas and Toronto, yielding three earned runs in 7 1/3 innings against the Rangers and three earned runs in 6 1/3 rounds against the Blue Jays.
"He went from a good situation to a good situation," Scioscia said. "I think it's the way he feels. Tampa has a lot of positive things going. They obviously won the [American League pennant] last year. He's excited about the opportunity to play here on a good club in a pennant race."
Kazmir, 25, has pitched in two All-Star Games, a scoreless inning each in 2006 in Pittsburgh and in 2008 at Yankee Stadium, where he was the winning pitcher for the AL. He was 1-1 with a 4.21 ERA in five postseason starts for the Rays last October, striking out 23 in 25 2/3 innings.
By unloading promising southpaw Alex Torres, infielder Matt Sweeney and a player to be named later, the Angels will have Kazmir under contract for at least two more years, with a club option for 2012.
Kazmir is making $6 million this year. He'll draw $8 million in 2010 and $12 million in 2011. The option for 2012 is for $13.5 million, with a $2.5 million buyout.
A Houston native, Kazmir was dealt to the Rays by the Mets on July 30, 2004, with veteran right-hander Victor Zambrano going to New York.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.