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Friday, June 17, 2011
Angels rooting for Kazmir

By Ian Begley


The Mets’ interest in one-time top prospect Scott Kazmir is unclear at this point. So is Kazmir's future in baseball.  

But Mike Scioscia, Kazmir’s former manager, hopes that the left-hander gets another shot in the big leagues.  

The Angels gave Kazmir his unconditional release on Thursday, opting to swallow the $14.5 million they owed him rather than restore him to the active roster.

On Friday, Scioscia said he was “rooting” for Kazmir, noting that he’d never seen a player work as hard as Kazmir did in an attempt to regain his past form.

“Hopefully as this clears out, he can just kind of reboot his talent,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully he’ll have success because we’re pulling for him.”

The Mets traded a young Kazmir, their first-round pick in the 2002 amateur draft, to the Tampa Bay Rays for Victor Zambrano in 2004.

They may be interested in re-signing him. GM Sandy Alderson didn’t dismiss the possibility when speaking with reporters earlier this week, insisting that the Mets evaluate all available options.

Any team that picks up Kazmir will be responsible for paying him only the major league minimum.

 Kazmir, who had been placed on the disabled list after his first start of the season, was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last year. After spending more than a month at extended spring training to try to regain the form that made him one of the best young pitchers in the game a few years ago, Kazmir struggled in his minor league rehab stint, going 0-5 with 30 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings.

“Scott put everything into it, unfortunately this week it just got to be where he was sliding backwards instead of making progress,” Scioscia said.

Added Angels catcher Jeff Mathis:  “I hated to hear that (Kazmir was let go).”

But Mathis, who said Kazmir’s pitches lacked both velocity and bite, believes the 27-year-old deserves another opportunity.

“I think he could (be successful again),” said Mathis, who caught Kazmir earlier this season. “There’s a lot of left-handed pitchers throwing 88-90 … somebody definitely could use him.”  

 Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Mark Saxon was used in this report.