Kazmir looks strong in rehab start

Kazmir looks strong in rehab start

DENVER -- After his first rehab start Wednesday night, it looks like left-hander Scott Kazmir is on the right path toward returning to the Rays.

Kazmir threw 4 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits with one walk and five strikeouts at Tampa Bay's Class A affiliate in Port Charlotte. Kazmir threw 44 of 64 pitches for strikes.

"I didn't get any kind of velocity numbers, but the walks and strikeouts were good," manager Joe Maddon said. "The pitch count was actually very good. [Senior vice president of baseball operations] Gerry Hunsicker thought he had some good depth on some sliders, but he primarily pitched well and hit the strike zone pretty good."

Kazmir will throw a bullpen session on Friday and pitch for the club's Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls, on Monday. Maddon noted that Kazmir's bullpen session will not be with the team when the Rays play the Mets. The Rays acquired Kazmir from the Mets in exchange for a pair of right-handers, Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato, on July 30, 2004.

Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.