Feb 17, 2011; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir (19) during spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The Undercards: The Infield Defense Behind Scott Kazmir Is Really Bad

Scott Kazmir is really making progress towards a comeback in the big leagues. Don’t let the play of the infielders behind him hide that. Boy, Kazmir is missing the Rays’ defense right now.

Mexican Pacific League: Mayos de Navojoa 10, Naranjeros de Hermosilo 5

It looked like Wes Bankston had finally cooled off.  Not by a long shot. Bankston broke out of his recent slump with a huge day for Navojoa, going 2 for 4 with 2 homers and 3 RBI. HIs second homer, a solo shot, gave the Mayos their first lead of the game, 6-5 after being down 5-1 at one point. Bankston’s .287/.354/.497 line with 10 homers and a 31-21 strikeout to walk ratio in 202 plate appearances is not too shabby at all and he may be in line for a minor league contract with a big league organization. For Hermosillo, the red-hot Jorge Cantu bizarrely got a day off, but Humberto Cota had a huge game, going 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and 3 RBI.

Venados de Mazatlan 5, Aguilas de Mexicali 4 (11 innings)

Matt Buschmann has pitched well so far for Mazatlan and he did it in a huge spot in this game. With the game tied at 4 entering the 8th, Buscmann came in and allowed just 1 hit in 2 innings of work, striking out 1. 13 of his 20 pitches for strikes. Buschmann was recently installed as Mazatlan’s closer and might play the same type of role at Triple-A Durham for the Rays next season with a chance to crack the big league roster at some point. Jon Weber went 2 for 5 with a double, a walk, and a run scored in the loss for Mexicali.

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico): Indios de Mayaguez 4, Gigantes de Carolina 3

Scott Kazmir started for Carolina in this one, and the numbers were not so pretty. He went just 3.1 innings, allowing 3 runs, none earned, but also allowing 7 hits in those 3.1 innings, which simply doesn’t cut it. Actually, scratch that and ignore all those numbers. Kazmir was pitching fine and his infield defense just happens to be the worst you’ve even seen. Kazmir struck out 6 while walking 2 and his groundball to flyball ratio was an outstanding 9-2. Kazmir was overpowering and showing solid command, but 6 of the 9 groundballs he allowed turned into hits and a 7th was a huge error that led to 3 Mayaguez runs in the first innings. 6 of the 7 hits he allowed came on groundballs, every one of them but the last. It was really an encouraging outing by Kazmir and hopefully he can continuing throwing the ball well and get some help from his teammates moving forward. Kazmir was relieved by ex-Rays prospect Eddie Morlan, who got a big double play to spare Kazmir in the 4th but allowed a run in the 6th that ended up being the deciding run of the game. It came, of course, on a groundball single. Morlan went 2 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits, managing a 5-2 groundball to flyball ratio. A third former member of the Rays organization, Jesus Feliciano, went 2 for 4 with a walk for Carolina.

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Tags: Humberto Cota Matt Buschmann Scott Kazmir Tampa Bay Rays Wes Bankston

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