Scott Kazmir’s comeback attempt with the Indians has been one of the most interesting stories to follow so far this spring and he continued to impress this afternoon against the Angels.
Kazmir allowed three hits and a walk over four scoreless innings against his former club while striking out four. Between Cactus League action and one minor league B-game appearance, the 29-year-old southpaw has an excellent 13/2 K/BB ratio over 11 shutout innings this spring. Yes, the same Kazmir who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2011 and had an ugly 5.34 ERA in 14 starts for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters last year.
It’s dangerous to look too much into small sample sizes like this, as weird things can happen, but MLB Network’s Peter Gammons notes that Kazmir sat in the 89-93 mph range today and that his delivery has been “restored.” His unlikely case for the fifth spot in Cleveland’s rotation rolls on.
The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.