While Spring Training statistics are hardly the end all, be all, the Los Angeles Dodgers have received mixed returns thus far on their two offseason marquee signings. Kenta Maeda has been impressive through his first two outings, throwing a combined five scoreless innings.
Maeda’s flashed the pitch mix, command and movement that led to Yasmani Grandal comparing the Japanese right-hander to Zack Greinke. It’s been an entirely different story for Scott Kazmir, however.
The southpaw allowed two runs on six hits over two innings pitched in his debut against the Texas Rangers. Kazmir did collect two strikeouts on the day and induced two inning-ending double plays.
He lamented his fastball command, but was also pleased with being able to get the necessary ground balls. Kazmir’s second outing was a step back as he only managed to toss 1.2 innings.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim chased the lefty by scoring five runs on six hits in what turned out to be a high-scoring affair. Rather than start a third Cactus League game, Kazmir went to a backfield at Camelback Ranch to pitch in a B game, which was caught by Grandal.
Kazmir had some trouble with his command, pitched at a decreased velocity and threw 69 pitches over five innings in the controlled setting. While many came away with more red flags raised, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is not among them.
“He’s healthy and feels good today,” Roberts said Tuesday morning. “[The B Game] was good, got his pitch count up and his arm feels strong. The first-year manager also downplayed Kazmir’s velocity, or lack thereof.
“Absolutely not,” Roberts responded when asked if he’s concerned. “I think where we’re at and what he’s done, there’s really no conversation about it.” Kazmir is expected to slot back into the rotation in the coming days.
As for Roberts and his cool demeanor, it extends well beyond Kazmir. “No, I think that things happen,” Roberts answered when asked if he has any concerns at all. “Injuries happen and they have happened to us, but you have to move forward.
“Performance is up and down. The guys are working hard everyday, preparing, and the results are the results. When I see lack of effort or lack of focus, then that concerns me. But to a man, that hasn’t been a topic.”