ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -AL strikeout leader Scott Kazmir will be sidelined for at least two weeks of spring training because of an elbow strain, although the Tampa Bay left-hander remains confident he'll be ready for opening day.
The Rays said Wednesday that a MRI did not reveal a serious injury, but stressed the club will not take any unnecessary chances with the 24-year-old's recovery, even if it means him missing a start or two when the season begins.
``The good thing is we're talking weeks, not months,'' executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.
throwing program and get this behind us.''
Kazmir, 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA and a league-leading 239 strikeouts last season, was scratched Tuesday from a scheduled one-inning appearance in an intrasquad game after feeling discomfort in his left elbow on his final warmup pitch.
``By the time I got to the doctor's office I pretty much knew it wasn't going to be anything too serious because a lot of the symptoms I was feeling kind of went completely away,'' said Kazmir, an All-Star two years ago.
``It could have been a lot worse. I think that's the best news that could happen. I'm going to take it slow, but I think this is something that's going to heal pretty quick.''
Friedman said it's too early to speculate about opening day. He just wants to make sure the elbow doesn't become a lingering problem.
Kazmir signed a $3,785,000, one-year contract last month. He made a club-record 34 starts in 2007, tied for the AL lead, and was a 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break.
``We don't want this to pop up in April, and May or June, so we're going to do anything and everything while we have this time in March to ensure that it is behind us, and that when he gets back on the mound it is behind us and we put him in position to pitch 200-plus innings for us,'' Friedman said.
Kazmir's elbow strain wasn't the only concern coming out of the intrasquad game.
Left-hander David Price, the first pick in last summer's draft, was scratched as a precaution because of shoulder stiffness that's not considered serious.
Minor league shortstop Reid Brignac broke the small toe on his right foot when he was hit by pitch and is expected to miss four to seven days.
Friedman conceded it was a tough day.
``I was looking for the do-over button,'' he said.

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