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03/18/08 12:53 PM ET

Kazmir exercising caution in recovery

Despite being scratched, lefty says he's hasn't had a setback

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Scott Kazmir feels great, but he wants to take the cautious approach in his recovery from a strained left elbow.

The Rays ace was scratched from his first spring appearance on Sunday, which fueled speculation he had experienced a setback. Kazmir does not view his situation as such.

He said he felt some "general soreness" Friday after throwing batting practice Thursday. But he explained the soreness as a "good soreness," more familiar to the kind of soreness a pitcher feels getting in shape during Spring Training rather than elbow pain.

Kazmir stressed that he wanted to make sure he's "100 percent strong" once he starts the season, at whatever date that might be.

"Because you don't want to have to battle it the whole season," Kazmir said. "Maybe miss one start. ... Once I get in there into the games, I want to be there for the whole season. That's kind of what we're going for."

Having Brian Anderson one locker away from him in the Rays' clubhouse might have fueled Kazmir's temperance to a certain extent.

Last week the veteran left-hander experienced a career-ending tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, an occurrence that opened Kazmir's eyes.

"It kind of freaked me out a little bit, to be honest with you," Kazmir said. "You see him come in and the next thing you know he's talking about, 'Oh, I ripped my whatever' and what not. Then I'm like, maybe I should take a little more time.

"I see that going on. I'm thinking, 'Oh, man, I don't want to be in that boat.' And, plus, I've got the time no just to make sure that everything is strong and I'm ready to go."

Kazmir talked to Anderson after Anderson received the diagnosis, but he didn't want to talk to him too much.

"I didn't want to get too many images in my head about what was going on," Kazmir said. "But yeah, I talked to him a little bit about it right when he came in afterwards."

Kazmir said he's all ears when receiving good advice, noting Anderson told him: "Dude, don't rush it at all. This is a perfect time to do that, Spring Training."

Kazmir played catch Tuesday. He said he did not know when he would throw his next bullpen, but offered "maybe [Wednesday]."

"I'm just going on what the trainers tell me what they want to do," Kazmir said. "So they pretty much have a game plan. So I'll follow what they say.

"But like I said, we're not going to rush it. If I miss one start, it's not going to make a difference, as long as everything is going to be good from then on."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.