Kazmir pleased with outing despite runs allowed

Kazmir pleased with outing despite runs allowed

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Scott Kazmir is hoping the Indians use more than the pitching line found in the box score to evaluate his latest performance. The lefty knows Cleveland is nearing a decision on its fifth starter and that his outing against the Mariners might have been his final say on the mound.

Over five inconsistent innings, Kazmir surrendered five runs in a 10-5 Cactus League victory for the Indians. He said he was concentrating on establishing his fastball and building up his pitch count -- an approach that contributed to a constant string of hits by Seattle.

"Besides what the scoreboard says, it went well. It really did," Kazmir said. "For the most part, my fastball, it felt really good early on. That was the game plan, to kind of stick with that and to build up a lot more strength since I was going that deep. I almost felt a little too good. I felt like I was overthrowing a little bit."

Indians manager Terry Francona indicated that he and general manager Chris Antonetti would sit down on Sunday to discuss the fifth starter situation. The decision is down to either Kazmir (a non-roster invitee) or right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.

Francona said part of the decision will revolve around the suspension that is still linked to Carrasco. On July 29, 2011, Carrasco threw at Kansas City slugger Billy Butler's head, leading to a six-game suspension from Major League Baseball. Carrasco appealed the suspension, and later underwent season-ending surgery before serving his punishment.

"I think we'd like to get things in order as soon as we can," Francona said. "We'll all meet and we'll kind of get things figured out. ... I don't know the situation with Carrasco. We've got to get some clarity. Once we get that, then we can start making some decisions."

Kazmir, who has not pitched a full season in the big leagues since 2010, allowed 13 hits (six extra-base hits) and finished with five strikeouts and no walks in his 85-pitch effort against the Mariners. He surrendered a two-run home run to Raul Ibanez in the fifth inning and had a pair of doubles (Kelly Shoppach in the fourth inning and Mike Dowd in the fifth) that bounced off the batter's eye in center field.

In other ballparks, balls that strike the batter's eye are home runs. That is not the case in Peoria.

"That was awesome, yeah," Kazmir said. "I told Kelly, 'That's the longest double I've ever seen.'"

Kidding aside, Kazmir knows his performance was not particularly strong in terms of results, though he noted he threw fastballs in situations where he might feature offspeed pitches during the regular season. Overall this spring, the left-hander has surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on 29 hits with 23 strikeouts and three walks over 21 innings, which cover four Cactus League outings and a pair of Minor League starts.

"Coming to crunch time right now," Kazmir said. "There's a lot of decisions to be made and an outing could make the difference. That's why I've said from the beginning I'm just focused on what I need to accomplish and what I need to do to get better. Today was a step in the right direction."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.