Cleveland Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir was impressive Wednesday night, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh and ultimately holding the Baltimore Orioles to one hit and one unearned run over seven frames. The start looks all the more impressive when you learn that the veteran southpaw was fighting through back spasms all night.
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Kazmir battled through the irritation in his lower back for 78 pitches, but it became too much for him to bear when he went out to warm up for the eighth inning, reports Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Manager Terry Francona and the Tribe's head athletic trainer visited with Kazmir on the mound after a few warm-pitches, and opted to pull him from the game.
Kazmir, somehow still just 29, expressed hope after Wednesday's game that he'd be good to go for his next scheduled start. Francona was similarly optimistic, but said that it hinges on how the left-hander's back feels when he shows up to the park Thursday. Kazmir dealt with an oblique issue earlier in the year, but it's not known whether his current spasms are in any way related.
One of the best comeback stories in baseball this season, Kazmir owns a 4.83 earned-run average and 2.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio through his first 16 starts with the Tribe. After being discarded by the Angels in 2011 and struggling through two seasons of independent ball, Kazmir miraculously rediscovered his velocity and control this spring, eventually fighting his way into the Indians' rotation ahead of top prospect Trevor Bauer.