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Kazmir: I’ll be ready by Opening Day

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Feb 27, 2008 at 02:10 PM

Scott Kazmir said today that he “definitely” plans to make his expected start Opening Day at Baltimore despite the strained left elbow he suffered yesterday.

“That’s what we’re shooting for,” he said.

Asked if the medical staff had discouraged him from that target, he said they hadn’t.

“We still think that what we have now is something where it’s possible to get out there and be ready for Opening Day,” he said.

Kazmir said he expects the inflammation in his elbow to go down within the next couple of days and he will begin throwing again as soon as possible after that.

“Of course I’m not going to rush it,” he said, “but the second I feel nothing – no inflammation or soreness or anything – I’m ready to get it going again. I don’t want to be set back any farther than I have to be.

“It could have been a whole lot worse; I think that was the best news that could happen. I’m going to take it slow, but I think this is something that is going to heal pretty quick and the inflammation is going to go down pretty quick. I’m confident I’m going to be out there pretty soon.”

Told Andrew Friedman had said if the pitcher was going to miss any regular-season starts, it would only be one or two, Kazmir jumped right in.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Rocco Baldelli said everything felt fine after he went 0-for-2 as the DH in today’s game. He grounded into a 6-4-3 double play in the first inning and reached on an error in the fourth. He said he told the Rays a few days ago that he would prefer to make his game debut as the DH rather than in the outfield, but he’s hoping to get back in the field soon.

Reid Brignac seemed downcast after breaking his toe when he was hit by a Chris Mason pitch yesterday, but said he hoped to get back out and try moving around tomorrow. He’s not wearing any sort of cast or brace today.

Finally, Willy Aybar made his Rays debut by coming in at third base for the fourth inning of the intrasquad game. We’re hoping to talk to him shortly.

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