TORONTO: As far as Scott Kazmir and Indians officials can discern, Kazmir does not have an injury, but he will miss his first start of the season Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Does that make any sense?
Could be. Because it is so early in the season, with little or no pressure to rush Kazmir to the mound, Tribe manager Terry Francona and the training staff have chosen to take the cautious path with the left-hander, who is trying to revive his career after pitching in an independent league last year.
Kazmir threw his usual side session Wednesday and experienced no twinges in the right side of his abdomen underneath the diaphragm.
“Everything went well,” he said. “It was my usual bullpen, throwing about 80 percent [of maximum effort]. I’m pain free, and I threw all my pitches, so I’m very encouraged. I’m ready to go on Saturday.”
Kazmir felt a twinge playing catch on Monday and didn’t make another throw. He was examined by head trainer Lonnie Soloff, but he has not been checked out by a physician. That is coming.
“We’re sending him back to Cleveland,” Francona said. “He will rejoin us in Tampa on Friday, but he won’t pitch Saturday. He probably could pitch. But with the adrenaline going, and if he lets one fly — it just doesn’t make any sense to do it.”
Kazmir is scheduled to undergo an MRI scan and be examined at the Cleveland Clinic today.
“Doing this will give me peace of mind,” Kazmir said.
Whereas the Tribe is taking the conservative approach with Kazmir, there apparently is no reason to think he is hurt.
“He threw his side, and he threw pretty well,” Francona said.
Kazmir was added to the roster Tuesday rather than the day he was scheduled to start. Why? If he is forced to go on the 15-day disabled list, his first day on the DL can be backdated to April 2, allowing him to be activated sooner.
That move led to Nick Hagadone being optioned to Triple-A Columbus to make room for Kazmir. Now, a starter will have to be summoned from Triple-A to pitch Saturday. And if Kazmir has to miss only one start, whoever replaces him will have to be added to the roster at another player’s expense.
The pickings are slim: Carlos Carrasco was added to the roster so he could serve a six-day suspension, dating to 2011. He cannot pitch until Monday.
That leaves Trevor Bauer, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Corey Kluber as candidates at Columbus. If the choice is Dice-K, a player will have to be dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for him.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.