Scott Kazmir was the story of the spring, earning a spot in the Indians’ starting rotation after posting a 3.46 ERA and 13/1 K/BB ratio in 13 Cactus League innings. But this comeback tale is now on hold.
Kazmir suffered a strained abdomen Monday during a team workout. He was able to make it through a bullpen session on Wednesday, but the Indians are going to play it safe and skip his first turn Saturday night against the Rays, according to Nick Camino of WTAM 1100. Kazmir will undergo an MRI on Thursday in Cleveland to rule out anything serious.
The 29-year-old left-hander signed a minor league contract with the Tribe in late December after spending the 2012 season with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.
The Indians have not announced a fill-in starter but will do so Thursday.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.