ARLINGTON -- Scott Kazmir was on the receiving end of some highly encouraging news from Dr. Keith Meister, the Rangers' team physician, with respect to an intensive examination on his left shoulder, which has the southpaw on the 15-day disabled list with fatigue.
"The MRI [taken Thursday] was better than good, Dr. Meister told me," Kazmir said. "He said, `Yes, there are some abnormalities, but that's always going to be there for someone who has been pitching for six years.' For as long as I've been throwing, he said it's way above normal. That was a big relief."
Kazmir experienced weakening in the shoulder in his start in Oakland, right before the All-Star break on July 10. He took a severe pounding that night, giving up 13 earned runs, and was worried that something might be seriously wrong with the shoulder.
"The problem is the back of the shoulder kind of shut down," Kazmir said. "It wasn't supporting my delivery enough; it was cutting it down, not allowing me to drive through. It felt like a knot in there.
"We started doing strengthening exercises when we were in New York on the specific area in the shoulder. I'm going to start playing catch [on Sunday], and every day we'll see how it responds. Once I get it stabilized, I'll be able to fire and explode through the pitch. I haven't been able to do that in a while."
Kazmir said there is no timetable for his return, but he's optimistic he'll be back, healthier and more productive.
Kazmir is 7-9 with a 6.92 ERA in 17 starts with Anaheim this season. An American League strikeout king at 23 with the Rays, he has only 60 K's in 92 1/3 innings, walking 49 hitters.
With Sean O'Sullivan getting dealt to Kansas City in the Alberto Callaspo deal, right-hander Trevor Bell assumes Kazmir's rotation spot in Sunday night's series finale against the Rangers' Tommy Hunter. It is Bell's first start of the season for the Angels, while Hunter is 7-0 with a 2.09 ERA.