Giants’ Scott Kazmir solid in MLB return; could bullpen be in his future?

While the San Francisco Giants lost to the Dodgers on Saturday and fell out of first place in the NL West, there was at least one thing for Giants fans to feel good about. Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir returned after an incredible four-plus year absence from Major League Baseball, displaying short-term potential in the process.

He started for San Francisco and turned in four solid innings. Manager Gabe Kapler, a former teammate of Kazmir’s in Tampa Bay, called Kazmir’s story one of “perseverance and resilience.” Kazmir fought injureis and also had family issues, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He’s a three-time All Star.

But does he have a future with the Giants? Kazmir was subbing for normal starting pitcher, Logan Webb. Susan Slusser of the Chronicle said it’s unclear whether Kazmir with start again soon, but there’s another possible option: the bullpen.

If the team keeps him on the roster, Kazmir could move into the bullpen as a long reliever or the team could use Kazmir and Webb in a tandem, one starting and working three or four innings and the other following.

Susan Slusser/San Francisco Chronicle

Make that two options. Slusser’s tandem idea is intriguing, and very on-brand for the new-school style of baseball Kapler was hired to manage. The Giants’ shift in philosophy — to more of a “Moneyball” style approach — is a large part of the reason Kazmir got a shot to start on Saturday. With the value he displayed, it’s likely he’ll stick around the club in some fashion moving forward.

It’s all in the name of taking first place back from the Padres. That would be the ultimate feel-good story for the Giants, though after Saturday’s loss, they’re likely glad to have Kazmir on board to provide some positive vibes.

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia commons/Keith Allison)

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