"I'm kind of working in between my starts to try to stay fresh and kind of develop a routine for this year," Kazmir said. "Stuff that's worked for me in the past is not going to work for me right now, just because of being out of the game for so long and then just coming right back into it."
Kazmir is still acclimating himself to the demands that life in a pitching rotation demands. He said the time off prior to each of his last two outings seemed to arrive quickly, and that was reflected on the field. Kazmir went 0-1 and lasted a combined eight innings. He allowed 13 hits and nine runs while walking four and striking out five. The lefty compiled a 10.13 ERA, let opponents hit .371 off him and threw 61 percent of his pitches for strikes.
"The last two just didn't really go my way," Kazmir said. "I never really got into a groove. It's just kind of the way it goes sometimes. You don't have your best stuff pretty much all the time, but you've got to go out there and battle. That's what I tried to do the last couple starts."
In the three starts prior to that recent stretch, however, Kazmir enjoyed significantly more success on the mound. In 17 innings, he went 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA, allowing 15 hits and five runs while walking three and notching 21 strikeouts. He held opponents to a .231 batting average and 69 percent of his pitches went for strikes.
"Everything was just in sync," Kazmir said. "Everything felt good. I feel like I started figuring out some stuff.
"With these last two starts, I took a couple steps back. But at the same time, I feel good, I feel fine -- just trying to keep it going."
Kazmir's next start will come Saturday at Fenway Park, a stadium he enjoys pitching in. On the season, he's 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.