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Angels' Kazmir needs good result today

March 4, 2011 |  7:30 am

Scott Kazmir faces an important test Friday when the left-hander, struggling to erase the stain of a career-worst season in 2010, takes the mound in the Angels' Cactus League exhibition with the Chicago White Sox at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Arizona.

Kazmir battled injuries as well as issues affecting his control, mechanics and confidence last summer, going 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA. The Angels ordered him to Arizona over the winter to work on some of those problems, and though Kazmir said he felt he was on the road to recovery in his spring training debut last week, the numbers suggested otherwise: five hits and three runs allowed in two innings against the Dodgers. Another poor performance Friday and Kazmir -- and the Angels rotation -- could be in trouble.

The Angels will also get their first look Friday at another left-hander, Hisanori Takahashi, whom the team signed as a free agent in December. Takahashi has been slowed by a bad back this spring, delaying his Angels debut. And though the Angels see Takahashi starting the season in their bullpen, if Kazmir loses his spot in the rotation the Japanese Central League veteran, who started 12 games for the Mets last season, could be Manager Mike Scioscia's best alternative.

Also scheduled to throw Friday is Scott Downs, another left-handed reliever signed as a free agent in December. Downs threw a scoreless inning in his only other appearance this spring.

Friday's lineup:

3B -- Maicer Izturis

DH -- Bobby Abreu

RF -- Torii Hunter

LF -- Vernon Wells

2B -- Howie Kendrick

SS -- Erick Aybar

1B -- Mark Trumbo

C -- Jeff Mathis

CF -- Peter Bourjos

P -- Scott Kazmir

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.