Tampa Bay Rays: Scott Kazmir on the comeback trail yet again

02 July 2016: Los Angeles Dodgers Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir (29) [3143] smiles after exiting the game during a Major League Baseball between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
02 July 2016: Los Angeles Dodgers Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir (29) [3143] smiles after exiting the game during a Major League Baseball between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Former Tampa Bay Rays LHP Scott Kazmir has had a career full of injuries and comeback attempts, and it appears he’s trying to get back to MLB once again.

Former Tampa Bay Rays LHP Scott Kazmir has had a whirlwind career.  The lefty has been injury-plagued throughout his career but the one trait you have to admire is that he always seems to get back up and try to make it back to the big leagues.

After spending the 2012 season out of the league, Kazmir latched on with the Cleveland Indians and started a four-year stretch where he made at least 26 starts in each season.  After pitching to an ERA of 4.04 and a better FIP of 3.51, Kazmir pitched even better in 2015 where he began his season with an ERA of 2.38 in 18 starts for the Oakland Athletics.

After a mid-season trade to the Houston Astros, Kazmir regressed a bit but finished his 2015 season with an ERA of 3.10.  His solid 2015 led to a three year $48 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that is still paying Kazmir this year.  Due to deferred money, Scott is making eight million dollars in 2020, and 2021 as he wraps up the deferred portion of his Dodger contract.

Scott Kazmir had a mediocre 2016 season with the Dodgers as he pitched to an ERA of 4.56 in what would be the only season he actually pitched for the big league Dodgers.  In 2017, a hip issue in spring training derailed Scott Kazmir’s season as it limited his velocity to the low 80’s.  Kazmir tried coming back in June of 2017 but he was then shut down until the late portion of the minor league season.

After one more comeback attempt that fall in the California League playoffs, Scott Kazmir was traded to the Atlanta Braves in December of 2017 in the Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez salary dump special.  The Braves released Scott in March of 2018 and he has been out of the Major Leagues ever since.

That leads us to the latest comeback attempt by the determined southpaw.  Yesterday on Twitter, Scott Kazmir posted a video clip of his bullpen session and it shows a radar gun indicating that the veteran threw 90.3 miles per hour.

Given that this was a bullpen session and not an actual game where adrenaline takes over, 90 miles per hour is a pretty good milestone for Kazmir.  It’s certainly an improvement from the last time Scott Kazmir was pitching for the Dodgers.

The former Tampa Bay Rays southpaw turned 36 years old in January so it will be interesting to see if a team takes a flier on Kazmir when the season resumes.  Given the new three batter minimum rule for relievers, maybe Kazmir could etch out a role as a reliever on a big-league club.  Even if Kazmir’s current comeback attempt fails, you certainly can’t knock the lefty for his determination to make it back to the Majors.