The Los Angeles Dodgers are nearing the point where a decision is needed on the remaining two spots in their starting rotation, and signs point to those going to Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood.
In addition to McCarthy and Wood, Scott Kazmir, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brock Stewart, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias have factored into the discussion this spring. While McCarthy and Wood have pitched well, they’ve also benefitted from surviving some attrition, whereas others didn’t.
That applies to Kazmir, who was removed in the second inning of his last start due to hip tightness. It was an injury Kazmir battled last season and one that led to back and neck trouble. His mechanics were compromised as a result.
The southpaw continued to work toward a return on Sunday morning by throwing a bullpen session. Kazmir did so without issue, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the next step may be pitching in a Minor League game, according to Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
Scott Kazmir and Pedro Baez each threw bullpen sessions today. Went fine. Kazmir might pitch in minor-league game this week #Dodgers
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 19, 2017
Prior to the bullpen session, Kazmir pitched in a simulated game. Although he was encouraged by the ability to repeat his delivery, velocity, or lack thereof, was an issue for Roberts.
Kazmir spent the offseason focused on exercises that allowed for greater mobility in his hip and aimed to alleviate the issues that plagued him in 2016. It made the latest brush with hip trouble all the more frustrating for Kazmir.
He’s thrown a combined 2.2 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) while battling command issues in two starts this spring. Last November, the 33-year-old elected to opt in to the remaining two years and $32 million remaining on his contract with the Dodgers.