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Kazmir hopes to start Sunday

Posted Mar 10, 2008 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Mar 10, 2008 at 01:13 PM

Scott Kazmir said he’s shooting for Sunday’s game against the Tigers at Progress Energy Park to make his spring debut. After a successful bullpen session this morning, Kazmir said the plan is to throw live batting practice Thursday—he’d like to throw as many as 60-65 pitches if the Rays will let him—and take a couple days off before making his first start.

“I’m happy with where we’re at right now,” he said.

Kazmir said his arm felt fine during and after today’s session. His biggest issue was getting accustomed to being on the mound again after two weeks away from it and working through his mechanics. His release point was a bit of a problem today also.

Starting Sunday would essentially give Kazmir two weeks between then and Opening Day to stretch out, but he wasn’t as adamant as he has been in the past when discussing the possibility of starting against the Orioles on March 31.

“Sure it’s a goal for me, but I’m not going to rush anything,” said Kazmir. “Whatever happens, happens. I realize that it’s not going to be that big of a difference going from Opening Day to maybe game two or game three. We’re just going to take our time and make sure that everything’s strong and we stretched it out and didn’t rush it.”

It would seem to make the most sense for all involved to push him back a few more days, perhaps to the four-game series at New York the first weekend of the season, but that determination probably won’t be made for a while yet.

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