New Dodgers pitcher Kazmir returns to scene of career demise
LOS ANGELES (AP) After revitalizing his career over the last three years, Scott Kazmir is ready to return to the scene of its demise in Southern California.
The 31-year-old left-hander struggled through three tough years with the Los Angeles Angels before falling out of the majors. It took him two years to get back to the big leagues and after stints with Cleveland, Oakland and Houston, Kazmir has joined the Dodgers for his first time in the National League.
His $48 million, three-year deal finalized last week included a $5 million signing bonus and salaries of $11 million this year and $16 million in each of the following two seasons.
Kazmir spent his two years away recovering from injuries and playing independent and winter ball. He got another chance with the Indians in 2013 and then improved to 15-9 with Oakland in 2014.
''It was definitely a low point getting released by the Angels,'' he said Tuesday by phone. ''I wanted to step back and start from scratch, go back to fundamentals and teach myself great habits and get away from those bad habits I created.''
Kazmir said he went back to doing drills from his childhood and benefited from being away from baseball.
''I always had the motivation,'' he said. ''I became a better baseball player as far as being knowledgeable and really knowing my body.''
In hindsight, he said he would have told his younger self not to take anything for granted.
''Back in the day, it was more get it and throw it,'' he said. ''I don't know how I did it.''
Kazmir was fourth in the American League with a 3.10 ERA last season with a combined 7-11 record for Oakland and Houston. The three-time All-Star is 98-90 with a 3.96 ERA in 11 seasons.
''I'm biased. I love it with all the lefties,'' he said. ''I don't think it matters what hand you throw with.''
Kazmir can opt out of the deal following the 2016 season, in which case the $8 million of deferred money would be payable by Jan. 15, 2017.
''From a business perspective, it's always good to have options,'' he said. ''That being said, I would be honored to finish my career with the Dodgers.''