Scott Kazmir throws for scouts, looks pretty good

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Scott Kazmir threw a B game this morning here in Goodyear. On hand were scouts from multiple teams including the Rangers, Cubs, Brewers and Padres. Terry Francona and multiple Indians officials came out to the back field to watch as well.

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The results: with the GIGANTIC caveat that I’m no scout, I’d say he looked pretty good. His fastball was sitting in the low 90s, mostly at 91-92.  The purpose of the game, however, was for him to work on breaking and offspeed stuff. Like, Kazmir specifically asked for the game for that reason. As far as that goes, he did seem to have a bit of trouble locating his breaking stuff early, but he was getting a lot of swings and misses, striking out four of the first six batters he faced, three of them swinging.

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As Kazmir was winding down I talked to one of the scouts. He thought Kazmir looked good and agreed with me that his velocity was nice, especially compared to where he was a year or two ago. As for the breaking stuff: yes, some issues with location, but the scout liked the deception. Especially his slider, which really had nice movement. And obviously deception is the name of the game.

All told, I think this was a good outing for Kazmir. Whether that means he gets a job on the Indians or becomes trade bait isn’t clear, but given where he was not too long ago, it was a pretty encouraging morning.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.