SATURDAY: Kazmir has been diagnosed with thoracic spine inflammation, tweets Plunkett, who adds that there’s no timetable for his return.
FRIDAY: Kazmir will undergo a bone scan in the “thoracic region,” Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register was among those to report (links to Twitter). While results aren’t yet known, skipper Dave Roberts suggested that the lefty will require a “shutdown period” of “a couple weeks.” With less than a month left in the season, it seems uncertain at this point whether Kazmir will be able to return in 2016.
The Dodgers are set to turn to De Leon and Urias for starts early next week, Plunkett further tweets.
WEDNESDAY: Dodgers left-hander Scott Kazmir exited his rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City tonight after experiencing a recurrence of the same neck pain and ribcage pain that initially landed him on the disabled list, reports J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group. The 32-year-old is traveling back to Los Angeles to be reevaluated, he adds.
Kazmir faced just seven hitters, per Hoornstra, walking a pair of batters and hitting another pair. Had the rehab outing gone well, Kazmir would have been on track to rejoin the rotation early next week, but it’s now possible that top prospect Jose De Leon, who delivered a quality start and struck out nine in his MLB debut last week, could get another turn in the rotation.
Kazmir is in the first season of a three-year, $48MM contract with the Dodgers, and the year hasn’t gone as well as either he or the team would’ve liked. While he’s made 25 starts, Kazmir has averaged just over 5 1/3 innings per outing, totaling 135 1/3 innings this season and logging a lackluster 4.59 ERA. The sub-par performance is especially noteworthy, as it lessens the likelihood that Kazmir will exercise the opt-out clause in his contract this winter in search of a larger deal on the free agent market. Kazmir’s deal calls for him to earn $16MM in each of the next two seasons.
The Dodgers’ roster has been absolutely ravaged by injuries this season, and while they’ll get the most important piece of all back on Friday in the form of Clayton Kershaw, a number of other rotation options remain sidelined. Kazmir is joined on the shelf by Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu and Alex Wood at the moment. Rich Hill is back and has been terrific in two starts for them, though, and Kenta Maeda has been a solid rotation piece all season long. The Dodgers also have impressive rookies De Leon and Julio Urias, as well as right-handers Bud Norris, Brock Stewart and Ross Stripling as rotation options as they look to expand their four-game NL West lead over the Giants.