Angels release Scott Kazmir after latest horrible rehab start

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Scott Kazmir reached the end of the line with the Angels on Wednesday.  After giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday night, he was placed on release waivers by the club, which is prepared to eat the approx. $9.5 million he’s still owed.

After Kazmir struggled throughout spring training and then got lit up for five runs in 1 2/3 innings in his one regular-season start, the Angels stashed him on the DL in April, hoping he’d rediscover his form after a brief break.  Kazmir, though, wasn’t able to recover, even after a month and a half rest from working in games.  He had a 17.02 ERA in his five rehab starts for Salt Lake.

Kazmir ends his Angels career having gone 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA in 35 starts.  Those results cost the Halos $22.5 million and the three players they sent to the Rays in trade in Aug. 2009: Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney.

Once Kazmir clears waivers, he should be pretty popular with teams looking to bolster their pitching depth. It wouldn’t be surprised if both the Red Sox and Yankees, who saw Kazmir at his best plenty of times when he pitched for the Rays, come calling.  He’s a mess right now — his delivery needs an overhaul, not just a tweek or two — but he might not be an entirely lost cause.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.

Twins’ top prospect Nick Burdi will undergo Tommy John surgery

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Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.

Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.

It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”