Last night, Rays lefty Scott Kazmir took the mound for the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Even though Kazmir is the latest Tampa Bay Ray to make a cameo appearance for the team formerly known as the Vero Beach Devil Rays, for some reason this one was more interesting to me. Maybe it's because Kazmir, despite his troubles, is still one of my favorite Rays. Before the Rays turned the corner last year, he was the one guy that could draw me to a game. Nothing was more exciting then watching Kaz rack up "K's" at Tropicana Field.
If last night is any indication, we may get to see the 2007 version of Kaz again, real soon. He was on a 65 pitch limit. He struck out 5, allowed 3 hits and only 1 walk in 5 innings of work. He came away with the win. Now, if he can bring that back up here... the Rays could be in business.
But, what does that mean for the rotation? Outside of a trade, I honestly don't know what the Rays are planning. Conventional wisdom would say that Kazmir would return to his spot in the rotation and Price would go back down. However, the Rays have said before that once Price is up, he's here to stay. If Andy Sonnanstine continues to pitch well, you can't do anything with him. And Jeff Niemann has proved he's an everyday starter.
I guess it's a good problem to have. They may sneak Kazmir in the bullpen for a little while as a hedge against another injury to a starter. Of course, that means a bullpen arm will have to go and Chad Bradford is getting ready to come back also. It's going to be an interesting lead up to the All-Star break as far as the roster goes. Stay tuned.
Here are some pictures and links to the video of Kazmir's start in a Charlotte Stone Crabs uniform. 10 Connects Sports reporter Travis Bell went down there took the video. I grabbed the screen shots.
Clip 1: Highlights and soundbite from Kaz
Clip 2: Full postgame interview with Kaz