Scott Kazmir to remain in Angels' rotation despite early-season struggles

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kazmir staring.jpgAngels left-hander Scott Kazmir has been nothing short of disappointing through six starts this season, with a 2-3 record, 6.82 ERA and 1.78 WHIP.  On Wednesday, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided to reevaluate his spot in the starting rotation with an hour-long closed door meeting.

“We just wanted to get an understanding of where he felt he was, what
adjustments need to be made and whether he needed some time to make
those adjustments,” Scioscia said. “He doesn’t think so, and [pitching coach Mike Butcher]
doesn’t think so, so he will make his next start Monday in Texas.”

In other words, Kazmir needs to be better the next time he takes the mound, or the Angels will have to move in another direction.  The southpaw could be demoted to Triple-A to work on his craft or moved to the bullpen Carlos Zambrano-style.  Either way, something has to be done.  The Angels are just 15-20 this season and are quickly losing ground to the Rangers in the AL West standings.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.