While the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the 2017 season with an abundance of starting pitchers, Scott Kazmir did not factor into that equation. Instead, he was among the six players to begin the year on the disabled list.
He was bothered by hip trouble during Spring Training, which was a continuation of what plagued Kazmir last season. Offseason exercises aimed at improving mobility in Kazmir’s hip proved futile, leading to understandable frustration.
Over recent weeks and months the 33-year-old has worked on improving velocity and repeating his delivery. Kazmir joined High-A Rancho Cucamonga this week for his first rehab start and game action of the season.
Kazmir went the expected three innings, and believes he’s nearing a return from the disabled list, according to Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times:
“I feel close, I feel really close,” Kazmir said. “I honestly feel like if I get my pitch count up, I’m good to go.”
Kazmir allowed a home run to the first batter faced but otherwise got through the first inning on 14 pitches. He worked around a two-out single in the second inning, and hit one batter in the third. Kazmir threw 40 pitches (25 strikes) and allowed the one run on four hits.
His velocity was said to be in the upper 80s, which is lower than Kazmir’s career mark. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was nonetheless encouraged by the outing. He said Kazmir is scheduled to pitch again for the Quakes, presumably this weekend, going four innings or 60 pitches.
Prior to that, Kazmir is expected to throw a bullpen session on Friday in front of Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.