The Cleveland Indians have signed free agent left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir to a minor league contract. The deal occurred on
December 21, 2012 and was announced a few weeks later. This came out as a surprise since Kazmir has been out of baseball news for over a year. Kazmir is the prime example on how one injury can ruin an athlete’s career. What started out as a promising career took a turn for the worst after an elbow sprain. The 28 year old pitcher made his Major League debut with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2004 at the age of 20. While the Rays are currently known as a post-season contending team with an endless supply of young pitchers, Kazmir was with the Rays through the tough seasons and became one of the first great pitchers for the team. In 2006, Kazmir became the youngest opening day starter since the Mets in 1986 and went to the MLB All-Star game. In 2007, Kazmir led the AL with strikeouts (239), games started (34), and an ERA of 3.48.
Though Kazmir strained his elbow in spring training in 2008, he made it to the 2008 All-Star Game. The Rays preferred Kazmir not pitch at the game since he was recovering from his elbow strain but Kazmir was forced to pitch when the game lasted 15 innings. Kazmir pitched the 15th inning and became the winning pitcher after the AL scored at the bottom of the 15th inning. After the All-Star break, Kazmir had trouble striking out pitchers, driving his pitch-count up early in the game. This resulted in Kazmir barely making it past the fifth inning and forced the bullpen to be overworked. In 2009, Kazmir was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (a trade that resulted in Infielder Sean Rodriquez becoming a Ray). With the Angels, Kazmir failed to reach his former self, resulting in his release on June 2011. Since being released, Kazmir has been spending time in Dominican League and an Independent Atlantic League. I am wishing Kazmir the best of luck since he will always have a special place in the hearts of all Rays’ fans.
Source: Scott Kazmir