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Terry Francona says Scott Kazmir “has looked so good it’s scary”

Feb 22, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Scott Kazmir AP

Scott Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011, hasn’t pitched well in the majors since 2008, and spent last season posting a 5.34 ERA in an independent league for a team called the Sugar Land Skeeters.

He’s attempting a comeback this year, signing a minor-league contract with the Indians in December, and if manager Terry Francona is to be believed there’s actually reason for optimism with Kazmir.

“He’s looked so good it’s scary,” Francona said, via Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I wish we could bottle it right now for the season.”

Kazmir washing out of the majors can be traced directly to the decline of his raw stuff, as his average fastball velocity dropped from 93.7 miles per hour in 2004 to 90.5 miles per hour in 2010, so once someone gets a radar gun on his throwing sessions it’ll be pretty easy to determine if it’s worth buying a ticket for his bandwagon. It would be a helluva comeback story.

  1. thomas844 - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Still only 27 years old. He’s got plenty of time to return to his old, dominant form. If he and Ubaldo Jimenez can both do that, the Indians will be a team we should all start taking very seriously.

    • tuberippin - Feb 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Yep, and if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

      • thomas844 - Feb 22, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        If the Internet was real life, trolls would flee.

      • tuberippin - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        Not trolling, just being realistic. Asking Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir to each find the missing 3-5mph off their fastballs and then also improve their pitches-per-inning rate and cut down on the wildness (as has historically been an issue for both pitchers) is a lot to ask. I’m not saying it’s an impossibility, but it’s a highly dubious scenario.

        I get that in February and March, hope springs eternal, but let’s at least keep our feet on the ground while our heads are in the sky.

    • jayquintana - Feb 22, 2013 at 9:58 PM

      I can’t believe he’s only 27.

      • indaburg - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:37 PM

        He’s not. Kaz just turned 29. That’s still pretty young though.

  2. dondada10 - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    The title of this article should be “Spring Hope is Eternal.” Kazmir’s arm is shot.

    Cue the John Maine has looked great article.

    • tuberippin - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      I’d like to see a Shawn Chacon article, but I guess the writers are too afraid that saying bad things about him might result in them being choked like Ed Wade was.

  3. ryanrockzzz - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    I’m pretty sure the right form for Ubaldo is the crap that he’s been throwing up there for the last two years. Let’s hope he returns to his fluky one great year in Colorado!

    • thomas844 - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Actually before that 2010 season he won 12 games with a 3.99 ERA in 2008 (his first full season) and in 2009 won 15 games with a 3.47 ERA. Not dominant like in 2010 but he was still darned good. I can see him getting back to a 14-15 win season with a mid-3 ERA for the Indians and I’m sure they’d be just fine with that.

  4. vallewho - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    even with 90 mph stuff, he still has time to learn to pitch and extend his career.

  5. aceshigh11 - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    I agree, Terry…the sight of Kazmir pitching is scary.

  6. takavl - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Tito’s got the vapors already. Someone tell Kazmir that in this condition, Tito will accept the conspicuous consumption of chicken and beer in the clubhouse, as well as spoiled and insolent behavior from his fab pitchers….

    • jjschiller - Feb 22, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      Here’s a nifty trick: When you think you want to make a fried chicken and beer joke, look at the calendar. If it’s not 2011, then just shut the fuck up.

      • waldosdead - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        I completely agree. Other than schilling, tito is the only reason we won two WS titles, so clevelan be happy you have the best manager in the game.

  7. indaburg - Feb 22, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Serious question. Why doesn’t a guy like this learn to throw a knuckleball? I know it’s easier said than done, but really, what does he have to lose?

    I’m rooting for Kaz. Some of the few positive memories I have of the Rays prior to 2008 were thanks to this guy. Just 6 years ago as a 23 yr old, he led the league in strikeouts and had a bWAR of 5.5. And now? Yeah, I hope Francona is right.

    • tuberippin - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:29 PM

      “just six years ago” is quite a long time frame for pitchers….six years ago Kelvim Escobar won 18 games, Ian Snell pitched 200+ innings, Rich Hill struck out 183 guys, and Daisuke Matsuzaka still had potential as a starter.

  8. dirtydave6986 - Feb 22, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    In other news; Terry Francona was spotted at a restaurant with Mark Grace

    • hermitfool - Feb 22, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Francona doing his best Sparky Anderson at spring training impersonation.

  9. steve7921 - Feb 22, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Bet Kazmir is in the Best Shape of His Life too!

  10. stephenolszewski - Feb 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    If Masterson returns to his form of two years ago and Kazmir is as good as Francona is saying I’m loving this Tribe team even more

  11. janessa31888 - Feb 22, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    First time commenter and huge tribe fan here. I certainly hope he works out. I was so disappointed with Ubaldo and Justin Masterson( my favorite player on the team) last year. Can we just have some good consistency this season?

  12. raysfan1 - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Best of luck to Kaz, hope he finds the form that provided him the success he had with the Rays.

  13. lostsok - Feb 23, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    Comeback Player of the Decade?

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