Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Kazmir denied WBC chance
Posted Feb 17, 2009 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Feb 17, 2009 at 07:28 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE—Scott Kazmir just passed along word that he will not be allowed to pitch in the World Baseball Classic.
The Rays had filed a petition to keep him out, citing the injury he suffered last year during spring training that kept him out for the first month of the regular season and the extra workload he carried with the team making the playoffs.
Updating: Kazmir called the decision disappointing “in a way, just because of the fact that I was excited about playing for my country and I was looking forward to the experience.”
Now that the word has come down via a phone call from Andrew Friedman, though, he said there’s nothing to do but move on and put all his energy into preparing for the regular season.
“I have to look at the positives out of it,” Kazmir said.
Updating again: Friedman said Kazmir’s Team USA invitation was “very well-deserved,” but reiterated that the team thought it was important for Kazmir to avoid pitching in such a high-intensity situation so early.
“We felt like, with the health issues that he had last year coupled with the fact that we played an extra month, the prudent thing to do would be to push him back a little bit in spring as we were doing with some of our other pitchers as well,” Friedman said.
“We felt like the difference between pitching competitively in early March with ‘USA’ on your chest as opposed to sometime in the second week of March in a Grapefruit League game differed greatly in terms of what it takes to get to that point as well as the stress on the arm.”
He added that he didn’t think the team’s move to deny Kazmir the chance to pitch in the WBC would affect the parties’ relationship.