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Veteran Kazmir pitches well, even as A's hide him from Angels

PHOENIX -- With the A's playing the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, there was no way Scott Kazmir was going to pitch.

Kazmir, even while being a former Angel (2009-11), is something of an unknown quantity for them, given that he seldom pitched well while he was there (11-17, 5.31 ERA). A's manager Bob Melvin never wants to tip his hand to team in the American League West, meaning the less the Angels see Kazmir this spring, the happier the skipper will be.

So it was that Kazmir threw against a collection of A's hitters, including his former Angels teammate Alberto Callaspo, in a simulated game. Kazmir had mostly lost his mid-90s fastball while with the Angels, but he seems to have found it again.

"To me, his fastball was his best pitch," pitching coach Curt Young said. "I was impressed with the location he had with all his pitches. His fastball had a lot of carry to it."

In the official exhibition game, the A's beat the Angels, 3-2. But, more interest was on Kazmir's effort.

Kazmir threw everything he had -- fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. And while it will take actual game performance to judge him, the 30-year-old left-hander looked like the pitcher he was the second half of 2013 with the Cleveland Indians rather than the pitcher he was when he was with the Angels.

"He was throwing all of his pitches," Melvin said, "and the changeup really stood out. It looks as good as his fastball and slider."

Kazmir walked off the field at Phoenix Municipal Stadium well pleased with what he'd done to set up his first Cactus League game later this week. He threw three innings and a total of 46 pitches.

"I felt good throwing most of my pitches," Kazmir said a few minutes after walking off the field. "When I got to two strikes, I was able to put the hitters away."

Kazmir said he likes to have his first "game" of the spring be a simulation because he that's where he can work on specifics. He said once he gets into a game, when trying to get outs it's harder to polish his pitches and his mechanics.

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