BOSTON (AP) -The Tampa Bay Rays feel like the only thing that can postpone left-hander Scott Kazmir's first start of the season is the weather on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.
The 24-year-old Kazmir, last's season's AL strikeout leader and the ace of a young Rays' staff, is slated to face the Red Sox in the series finale. He strained his left elbow warming up for an intrasquad game on Feb. 26.
``The weather calls for 100 percent chance of rain,'' manager Joe Maddon said before Saturday night's game against the Red Sox. ``I'm not really concerned. I know everybody always gets worried about the weather. Once he gets heated up he'll be fine.
``I'm not holding other people back,'' he continued. ``If there was a rain delay (during the game), you might be concerned. He's ready to go.''
Kazmir's fastball topped out at 94 miles per hour in his final rehab start Monday in Durham, N.C. Now, he feels ready to go, with a pitch limit.
``We talked about it and we are right now at the 100-pitch count,'' he said. ``Hopefully I'll be right and get deep into the game.''
Boston's batters may hope for rain. Kazmir fanned 49 Red Sox' hitters last year. In the past 50 years, only three pitchers had more strikeouts against Boston in a single season.
``I think I'll be all right,'' he said. ``But like I've said before, with Fenway you are definitely going to have the adrenaline flowing.''
Last season he was 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA.
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