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Angels' Scott Kazmir struggles in rehab start

May 24, 2011 | 12:47 pm

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Scott Kazmir's path back to the big leagues hit another roadblock Tuesday when the Angels left-hander was rocked for six runs in 1 2/3 innings of his first minor-league rehab start with Triple A Salt Lake.

Kazmir struck out three of the five Memphis Redbird batters he retired and allowed just two hits, but he also walked four and hit a batter, throwing 26 of his 50 pitches for balls. The pitching line mirrors his stats from his only Angels outing of the year, when he gave up five runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Royals in Kansas City on April 3.

"There is such a small margin for error on how I'm throwing the baseball to get the ball over the plate," Kazmir said. "A couple of good fastballs that I ended up throwing in the first inning hit my spot. It seemed like it was really tough to get my body in line to get it there. As the game went on, it was getting more and more out of sync."

After his start in Kansas City, Kazmir was placed on the disabled list with what the Angels called a lower-back issue. Kazmir also returned to Houston to work with an old high school coach to re-create his mechanics. The left-hander then spent the last month in extended spring training to try to iron out his problems. But clearly he couldn't carry those lessons onto the field with him Tuesday.

"It's more like finding it rather than re-creating it," he said. "That is what I had done the past couple years. I'd re-create stuff just to try to get by. That's not me out there. It only got worse by changing stuff over and over. I'm just trying to get back to me."

Kazmir has remained hopeful all spring that he is about to turn a corner on his comeback. And that attitude remained following Tuesday's game.

"I feel good," he repeated. "My arm feels strong and everything. I just have some things I'm trying to iron out. I'm not consistent at the plate, that's for sure. It's something where I'm just going to keep at it and keep working. Hopefully I'll be able to get something behind the ball a little bit and have good direction.

"It seemed like I was a little bit more side to side. It was kind of a flip of a coin if I was going to be able to get it over the plate. I really had no direction and no drive straight to the plate."

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-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Scott Kazmir. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire

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