Scott Kazmir returns for first start in five years

Oh hey, remember this guy?

Oh hey, remember this guy?
Image: Getty Images

After José Godoy became the 20,000th player in major league history on Friday, Rays’ shortstop Taylor Walls debuted on Sunday, becoming No. 20,001.

That means 3,841 players have now gotten into the majors since August 23, 2004, when Scott Kazmir burst on the scene with five innings of four-hit ball for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in a 9-0 victory over Ichiro, Edgar Martinez, and the Mariners. Randy Winn, a man who was both a Devil Rays expansion draft pick and once traded for Lou Piniella, was Kazmir’s first strikeout victim.

Kazmir last pitched in the majors during the Obama Administration, going 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA for the 2016 Dodgers, and after getting traded to Atlanta, missing 2017 due to injury, getting released in 2018, and heading home to Texas, he started his comeback last summer in the one-off Constellation League, where he was 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA in four games for the champion Eastern Reyes del Tigre.

On Saturday, Kazmir made it back to the majors, pitching four solid frames but taking the loss for the Giants, who were held scoreless by Walker Buehler until the seventh inning.

Last having appeared in the majors for Los Angeles, Kazmir’s return came against a Dodgers team where his only remaining ex-teammates are Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes, Julio Urías, and the injured Corey Seager.

The Dodgers’ roster also includes another plenty-familiar face, the 15,424th player in major league history, Albert Pujols. That’s a treat for Kazmir, who got the future Hall of Famer to ground out in the first inning, and rap into his major league record 406th career double play to end his outing in the fourth. Pujols is now 1-for-14 in his career against Kazmir, dating back to their first meeting in 2005.

Max Muncy was the only Dodger who managed to get a hit off Kazmir, with a single ahead of that Pujols twin-killing and a homer into McCovey Cove in the first. It won’t be 1,702 days until the southpaw’s next start.

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