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.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.