Scott Kazmir tries to climb the mountain again

May, 22, 2011
5/22/11
11:59
AM PT
He's done enough tinkering with his mechanics.

Now, it's time for Scott Kazmir (and the Angels) to find out if he still can compete well enough to be an effective major-league pitcher. That quest began six weeks ago in extended spring training. It continues Tuesday morning at Triple-A Salt Lake with Kazmir's first official rehab outing.

Nobody has much of an idea how long he'll be in Triple A. It takes a while to rebuild a pitcher's confidence, especially when it gets as low as Kazmir's was.

"I just feel like, the last couple years, I was just trying so hard. Something didn’t feel right," Kazmir said. "It started wearing on me. You go out there not as confident, pretty much changing mechanics every couple starts just to have that feeling that you know where the ball’s going, that you’re getting good effort, good velocity on it.

"I just want to get back to where I feel comfortable."

Kazmir was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last season, then couldn't get out of the second inning in his 2011 debut, April 3 in Kansas City. After that, the Angels placed him on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his lower back, but they made clear that Kazmir's time in rehab will largely be about performance.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said this weekend that Kazmir could return in a relief role when his rehab assignment ends.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169