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Scott Kazmir is suffering from diminished velocity

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It’s early, but Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir hasn’t looked great in his first two starts of the spring. The lefty has yielded seven runs on 12 hits and two walks with three strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work. Even worse, his fastball has been sitting in the 86-89 MPH range, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. As Shaikin notes, the last time Kazmir threw his fastball so slow, the Angels cut him from the roster.

Neither Kazmir nor the Dodgers seem to be worried. Kazmir said, “My arm feels great.” He added that if he tries to throw too hard too early, his wind-up gets out of sorts.

The Dodgers are suffering from quite a few question marks in the starting rotation behind Clayton Kershaw. Brett Anderson is expected to miss 3-5 months after undergoing back surgery. Hyun-Jin Ryu, recovering from left shoulder surgery, could return some time in May. Frankie Montas had a rib removed in February and will miss most of the first half. Brandon McCarthy is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t even throw to hitters until May. Alex Wood was scratched from his last start due to forearm tightness.

It’s safe to say that Kazmir figuring things out sooner rather than later is pretty important for the Dodgers at the midpoint of spring training.

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.