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Kazmir's numbers down, but confidence is up
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published March 29, 2006
BRADENTON - Despite the numbers, everything apparently is fine with Scott Kazmir.
The left-hander had his third straight rough outing Tuesday, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits with two walks and a wild pitch in 41/3 innings during a 7-5 loss to the Pirates at McKechnie Field.
But both Kazmir, who will start opening day against the Orioles, and manager Joe Maddon said the numbers don't tell the story.
"I thought he threw the ball great, a lot of strikes," Maddon said. "They hit some balls to unfortuitous spots and we didn't play the best defense. Physically he had good stuff."
"I feel like I'm ready," Kazmir said. "I really do."
Kazmir has allowed 15 runs (12 earned) on 17 hits with 10 walks in his past three starts. For the spring he is 1-2 with a 9.24 ERA and allowed 13 earned runs on 22 hits in 122/3 innings with 12 walks and 12 K's.
Kazmir said he is frustrated by the lack of results but called the spring a success.
"I felt strong," he said. "I felt like my delivery was consistent. I was throwing strikes and felt like I was commanding both sides of the plate.
"It's not going to rattle me seeing the scoreboard. I was just concentrating on attacking the zone and getting some quality pitches and I feel like I did that."
"He's not taking anything for granted," Maddon said. "It's just a matter of they hit the ball where people weren't. They didn't beat him to death. He was around the zone the whole game and down for the most part. I believe he is ready for Baltimore."
NEW SPRING HOME? Rays president Matt Silverman said the team soon will begin to "devote real attention" to figuring out where to hold spring training.
Silverman said Tampa Bay's contract at Progress Energy Park runs through 2007 and the earliest the team would move, if that is the decision, likely is 2009.
"We'll look east towards Orlando and beyond and south past Sarasota as potential places for spring training sites," Silverman said.
He said the team will not consider Arizona and could very well stay in St. Petersburg, where it has trained since its inaugural 1998 season.
Why leave? Training at home is convenient but there is a theory it dampens the build-up to the regular season.
Where might the Rays look?
Lee County, home of the Twins and Red Sox, is believed to be looking for additional teams. The Reds want a new facility in Sarasota and might welcome a partner, as might the Indians, Blue Jays and Orioles who apparently are dissatisfied in Winter Haven, Dunedin and Fort Lauderdale.
CUTS: Right-hander Tim Corcoran was optioned to Triple-A Durham and left-hander Wayne Franklin was assigned to minor-league camp.
That leaves 38 players in camp. But pitchers Shinji Mori an d Al Reyes and infielder Luis Rivas are hurt, and pitcher Mark Malaska apparently is retired, meaning 34 players are vying for 25 roster spots.
Franklin was Tampa Bay's only left-handed reliever. The Rays could acquire one but Maddon said he does not mind only right-handers in the bullpen.
"If you're not going to use (a lefty) to get out the better lefty hitters, then why stock one?" he said.
GAME DETAILS: Jorge Cantu hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run blast in the sixth. ... Carl Crawford had a two-run double. ... Right-hander Jason Childers struck out two in one inning and extended his spring-long scoreless streak to 101/3 innings.
SPANISH RADIO: The Rays announced an agreement with Mega Communications to broadcast games in Spanish on 820-AM. Ricardo Tavares, who called Rays games in 2000 and "01, will do play-by-play. Enrique Oliu returns for his sixth season as analyst.