Here’s how far Scott Kazmir’s star has fallen: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the two-time All-Star–who’s still just 29 years old–has agreed to a deal with the independent league Sugarland Skeeters.
Apparently they play in Houston, which is where Kazmir is from.
Kazmir was released by the Angels in June of last year and has thrown for scouts several times since then while also pitching winter ball in the Dominican Republic, but no team has taken a flier on the formerly dominant left-hander.
His last effective season was in 2008 for the Rays when he threw 152 innings with a 3.49 ERA and 166 strikeouts. Since then Kazmir has a 5.54 ERA and just 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 55 starts and the most recent reports had him throwing in the high-80s.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.