Four Years Out of MLB, This Pitcher is Thinking Comeback


He effectively retired from the big leagues in 2016. Now, success with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics has convinced this 37-year-old pitcher to work hard on a comeback in 2021. 

Scott Kazmir pitched 12 years in the majors, compiling 108 wins, a solid career ERA of 4.01, a strikeout title in 2007, and three All-Star appearances along the way. That's a pretty solid major league resume, but as Joe Vardon reports in The Athletic, a dominant outing in the Olympic quarter-finals has convinced Kazmir that he has more to give. 

The left-hander tossed 5 shutout innings against the Dominican Republic, leading Team USA to a 3-1 win and a spot in the semi-finals in Tokyo. He allowed just two hits and one walk in his stellar outing. 

Jose Bautista, who battled Kazmir a multitude of times over the course of their careers in the American League, was one of those Dominican batters Kazmir shut down. “I am a big fan of his career,” said Bautista. “He may not be throwing as hard as he used to, but in my opinion, he’s got slightly better command and added a third pitch now with a cutter that he didn’t have before, so he showed that guys like him can still go out there and compete.”

Kazmir was able to appear in 7 innings for the San Francisco Giants earlier this season before they cut him, his first big-league innings in 5 years. But now he wants more, as he told Vardon, and for very good reason: his 2-year-old and 3-year-old sons. 

“I want them to see me play and not just see a video or anything like that. I feel like that is a huge motivation for me... to be able to have my kids watch me play in the big leagues again. I just want to keep at it to where they can remember it and know that their dad never quit.”

Hard to argue with that logic. 

Photo Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports