Kazmir takes new approach back to mound

Kazmir takes new approach back to mound

Kazmir takes new approach back to mound
ARLINGTON -- In his youth, with Tampa Bay, Scott Kazmir rocked and let it fly. He didn't worry about his mechanics, about hitters making contact, about the positioning of his hands and legs before, during and after his delivery. He was a natural.

For the past season plus, he has been The Unnatural. And he's tired of it.

"It's like I've been pitching with the emergency brake on," Kazmir said, having rejoined his teammates briefly at Rangers Ballpark before heading on Monday night to Arizona for a game under controlled conditions on Tuesday. "I have to be free and easy, not thinking about too many things.

"My arm strength is there. My arm speed is there. Everything checks out great physically. I wouldn't be able to throw the ball 250 feet long toss the way I can if anything was wrong."

Kazmir went to the 15-day disabled list after one bad start in Kansas City on April 3 with soreness in his lower back. He went home to Houston for three days and studied video from various stages of his career with Ron Wolforth, an independent pitching instructor he has known since high school.

"He did a lot of research and we went over a lot of stuff," Kazmir said. "Basically, I've been trying to create velocity with things I was doing, movements in my delivery, and it was the opposite. I did some throwing and it felt good. Now I'm going to take it to the mound and get back to work."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he expects Kazmir to have several sessions in Arizona before pitching at least one game for Triple-A Salt Lake.

"What he did was release-point oriented," Scioscia said. "The back feels good. He's got all that behind him. Hopefully, he can get in touch with the things he needs. With the release point, it's a feel for where the ball and body need to be. With Scott, it's absolutely more of a feel.

"When a guy is not performing the way he can, there's a confidence factor, to know you can go out and make a pitch. Right now, it's missing. He's got to work back into his length, work a couple [controlled games], then take it to a higher level game -- Triple-A -- and put pitches together."

Joel Pineiro, coming back from back issues near his left shoulder blade, will pitch three innings at extended spring training on Wednesday in Arizona. Kendrys Morales also is in Arizona, continuing his running program.

Shortstop Erick Aybar (strained left oblique) is playing a Triple-A game for Salt Lake in Tucson, Ariz., on Monday night and is expected to rejoin the Angels by Wednesday when the series with the Rangers concludes.