Kazmir strong in bullpen session

Kazmir strong in bullpen session

ST. PETERSBURG -- Scott Kazmir threw off the mound Monday and all is well.

The Rays left-hander made 40 throws in the bullpen during his first session on a mound since Feb. 26, when he felt discomfort while warming up for an intrasquad game and was diagnosed with a left elbow strain.

"It felt good, really good [being on the mound]," Kazmir said. "Just a little different. It's been a while since I was on the mound. My release point was off a little bit. But everything felt free and easy."

Kazmir said he threw approximately 20 fastballs and 15 or 20 breaking balls, sliders and changeups.

"I just need to get out on the bump a little more to feel more comfortable with my release point and mechanics and everything," Kazmir said.

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The next step is for Kazmir to throw a batting practice session on Thursday.

"I'm going to try and talk them into letting me throw a few more pitches so I can stretch it out a little bit more," said Kazmir, who hopes to pitch in a game on Sunday.

As for being ready for Opening Day...

"Sure it's a goal for me, but I'm not going to rush anything," Kazmir said. "Whatever happens, happens. I've realized it's not going to be a big difference from Opening Day or Game 2. ... [We're going to] take our time and make sure everything is as strong as possible and we didn't rush it. From there, then hopefully a game on Sunday, that's what we're shooting for."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.