Kazmir closing in on rehab assignment

Kazmir closing in on rehab assignment

ANAHEIM -- If a bullpen session on Saturday goes as well as hoped, Scott Kazmir could be on his way to a Minor League rehab assignment on Monday, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, with another next weekend bringing him into the picture for the club's fractured rotation.

Kazmir said he "felt good, with better range of motion" following a bullpen session on Wednesday, when he threw all fastballs. He'll add some offspeed stuff this time and feels his shoulder, which sent him to the 15-day disabled list on July 11 with what was described as fatigue, will let him know if he's ready to face live competition.

"I'll know as soon as the bullpen is over," Kazmir said. "I should have a good idea what their plan is. I felt very comfortable on Wednesday -- good arm speed, staying through the ball. Those were good signs, so I'm optimistic."

Kazmir was not with the club last season when Joe Saunders -- sent to Arizona in the Dan Haren swap -- experienced shoulder irritation and was shut down for three weeks in August. Saunders returned two days before Kazmir was acquired from Tampa Bay and went on a dynamic run down the stretch, winning his final seven decisions with a 2.55 ERA.

"Hopefully," Kazmir said, grinning, "something similar will happen to me." Struggling with consistent command primarily of his slider, the 26-year-old Houston native is 7-9 with a 6.92 ERA in 17 starts. He was a two-time American League All-Star with the Rays and league strikeout king in 2007.