TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir walked a tightrope on the mound in Monday's "B" game against the Rockies. Though his pitches were often sharp, he is still searching for consistency on the mound, and his efficiency went from one extreme to the other in alternate innings.
In his first inning, Kazmir was unhittable, walking two and striking out two, but he ran his pitch count up high enough that the inning was called with just two outs recorded.
"His stuff is there; it's just not coming out consistently," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He'll throw a couple pitches that really come out hot, and then he'll throw a couple pitches that don't look like the same arm speed. He's healthy. He's working through some things, trying to get his delivery coordinated to where he can consistently bring his stuff into a game, and he shows some flashes. He threw some really good pitches, especially against [left-handed hitter Ian] Stewart. He's a good hitter."
2010 Spring Training - Los Angeles Angels
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Spring Training Info
Kazmir threw 76 pitches, 46 for strikes, and gave up one run on two hits and three walks while striking out four en route to a 4-2 Angels win. Though the Angels fielded all Minor League position players, the Rockies had some big leaguers getting work, including Eric Young Jr., Alfredo Amezaga and Stewart -- all working back from injuries -- at the top of the lineup. Two of Kazmir's walks went to Young, and he struck out Amezaga on a slider in the first and Stewart on a curve in the third.
"I struck out a couple people on the slider," Kazmir said. "It's definitely coming along. If I have that where I can throw it any time, it's going to be effective for me. Just give [hitters] a different look."
His lone run came with one out in the third after walking Young. He gave up a run-scoring double down the left-field line off the bat of Amezaga. By comparison, his even innings were quick and efficient as he faced the bottom of the order.
"You do get in and out of sync," Kazmir said. "I couldn't tell you exactly what it is. I just got in rhythm right there in the second and fourth innings."
The 27-year-old southpaw is still working to reclaim the consistency he showed through his four full seasons in Tampa Bay before coming to the Angels in 2009 and battling injuries the last two years while posting an 11-17 record and a 5.12 ERA with the club. He came to Arizona in November to put in a full offseason of work and to give himself the best preparation possible as he sets out to solidify his standing as the team's fifth starter.
"They weren't necessarily big adjustments," Kazmir said. "It was just coming here early and working on arm exercises, strengthening up my shoulder, my forearm, and getting bullpens done early. That's the main goal of being here."
The numbers have looked good for Kazmir so far this spring, with a 3.38 ERA through three Cactus League starts. As he works himself back to the form he's after, consistency needs to be the hallmark of his spring.
"It's a fine line when you're searching," Scioscia said of Kazmir. "He's obviously trying to find something. In some ways he's made some big strides. That's why Butch [pitching coach Mike Butcher] is good, because he's very good at simplifying some root causes of issues and getting practical ways to work them out."
Kazmir is keeping it simple, working on all his pitches, watching his slider and changeup come along, and exercising patience when he notes, "It's not going to happen overnight." He's got a game plan and a goal, and he's sticking with them.
"Scott understands some of the things he needs to do," Scioscia said. "It's a matter of assimilating them into his game."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.