06/11/07 2:30 PM ET
Notes: Kazmir ready to put it all together
Rays left-hander looking forward to first duel with Maddux
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
The Rays left-hander enters Tuesday night's start against the Padres with a 4-3 record with a 3.92 ERA, and though he doesn't feel like he's really put it all together this season, he also feels like he's on the verge of doing so.
"That's what it really feels like," Kazmir said. "It's frustrating when you have to go through these things. But it's all a learning process, that's all I've got to say. ... I just need to get out there, have fun and let it go. That's what I did the past two seasons."
For the first time in his career, Kazmir will face future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, and he's looking forward to it.
"When I was a little kid, watching him on TBS, all we'd watch is the Braves games and the Cubs games, so I was a huge fan [of Maddux]," Kazmir said.
Kazmir smiled when told Maddux will be able to say he pitched against Kazmir.
"Exactly, I'm sure that's what he's looking forward to right now," Kazmir said. "He gets to put that in the book. Everything else he's got going."
Harris getting it done: What hasn't shortstop Brendan Harris done?
In the process of winning the position from incumbent shortstop Ben Zobrist -- and in aftermath of doing so -- Harris has put together solid numbers. He enters Tuesday night's action with a .316 batting average, six home runs and 28 RBIs. Included in those numbers were a home run and a career-high five RBIs Sunday against the Marlins.
"Harry's been doing it all year," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Whether we hit him second, sixth, seventh, or ninth, he's had good at-bats, regardless, and he comes to play every day.
"This guy was looking for his opportunity to become an everyday Major League player, and now he's got it and he's not going to mess it up."
Stone-face Sonnanstine: Sunday's hero, Andy Sonnanstine, is all business. Whether it's on the mound or off the field, seeing him smile is rare.
Maddon, who is prone to smile and laughter on most occasions, was asked what it was going to take to get the rookie right-hander to break character. Whoopee cushions or what?
"I saw him in the hotel lobby and he looked the same way," Maddon said. "I saw him sitting there and he just stares at things. I think he practices his focus by staring at objects. He's pretty much nondescript. He just hangs out, and I think he just practices his game look wherever he is at that moment."
While Sonnanstine might be stone-faced away from the field, even resembling someone who might do your taxes with his wire rimmed glasses, he turns up his serious face a notch when he's pitching.
"I try to keep an even keel and don't let a solo shot bother me or get too amped up about a strikeout," Sonnanstine said. "If you kind of control your emotions, not too many guys are going to get the best of you."
Don't look for Maddon or anybody else to try and change Sonnanstine's approach. Thus far, he looks like a keeper.
After Sunday's game, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters Sonanstine reminded him of Mets veteran right-hander Orlando Hernandez.
"He almost looks like a younger version of El Duque," Gonzalez said. "He changes speeds, changes angles, throws strikes. He did a nice job."
Equipment change: In the aftermath of catcher Dioner Navarro getting hit in the throat while catching Friday night, he will have an equipment change in regard to the mask he wears.
"Now, we got one of those Steve Yeager things and it hangs down," Navarro said.
Navarro did not want to make the change, which adds a protective flap that hangs from the bottom of the mask, but the organization made its view clear. "There's no option on that," Maddon said.
But Navarro added, "I think we're going to call Nike and try to figure out something else."
This and that: Rays pitchers have three hits through their first three games at National League parks this season; J.P. Howell got one Friday night and Sonnanstine got two Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, James Shields, who entered the Interleague season as the odds-on favorite to get the most hits after going 3-for-8 in 2006, went hitless Saturday night. He did put down a successful sacrifice bunt. ... In their just-completed series against the Marlins, the Rays scored 12 runs with two outs: four Friday, four Saturday and four Sunday.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.