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Kazmir's last stand?

5/16/2010

The Angels allowed Joe Saunders to work through his struggles and Friday night might have been the first affirmation that it was the right move. Saunders pitched a four-hit shutout of the Oakland A's.

For now, the team is allowing Scott Kazmir the same courtesy, but that window could close soon if he doesn't make progress. Kazmir is 2-3 with a 6.82 ERA and has struggled in areas you wouldn't expect. For example, left-handed hitters are batting .579 (11-for-19) against him. That tells you how ineffective the left-hander's slider has been.

Manager Mike Scioscia said Kazmir's spot in the rotation is safe for now, but he has also said that can be re-evaluated.

"We need Scott to get out there and find it. We're very confident he's going to," Scioscia said. "We'll see how it goes."

Kazmir might be in a good spot to rediscover his success Monday night, though few pitchers like pitching in Texas. Kazmir is 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA in his last six starts vs. Texas.

Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher has been working with Kazmir on returning to an over-the-top delivery. After an elbow injury two springs ago, Kazmir gradually adopted a three-quarters release point.