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05/14/2008 6:48 PM ET
Rays, Kazmir agree to four-year contract extension
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ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tampa Bay Rays and pitcher Scott Kazmir have agreed on a four-year contract extension. The first three years of the agreement covering 2009, 2010 and 2011 are guaranteed with the team holding an option for the 2012 season. The contract guarantees Kazmir $28.5 million and has a maximum value of approximately $39.5 million.

Kazmir will donate up to $350,000 during the life of the contract to the Rays Baseball Foundation, the team's charitable foundation that supports youth and education programs in the Tampa Bay region. Kazmir joins Rocco Baldelli, Carl Crawford, Akinori Iwamura, Troy Percival, Carlos Pena, James Shields, Dan Wheeler, and Evan Longoria as Rays who have donated a portion of their multi-year contracts to the Rays Baseball Foundation.

The 24-year-old Kazmir has a 36-30 career record and a 3.63 earned run average in 100 major league games, 99 starts. He has struck out 628 batters in 580.2 innings, an average of 9.73 strikeouts per nine innings, 13th best in major league history among pitchers with 500 or more innings. He is the Rays all-time leader in wins, strikeouts, starts and innings. He has recorded 14 games with 10 or more strikeouts.

Kazmir was 13-9 with the Rays last season and with 239 strikeouts was the youngest American League strikeout champion in 32 years. His 10.41 strikeouts per nine innings were second in the majors and his 3.48 earned run average was ninth in the A.L.

Kazmir is one of four pitchers in the last 20 years to have three winning seasons with 10+ wins before the age of 24 joining Dwight Gooden, Pedro Martinez and C.C. Sabathia.

In 2006, he became the youngest Rays player to make the A.L. All-Star squad. Kazmir was acquired by the Rays on July 30, 2004 from the New York Mets in a four-player trade.
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