Struggling Scott Kazmir is going on the disabled list with a “back injury”

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Scott Kazmir may have just reached Oliver Perez territory.

According to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, the Angels have placed former phenom left-hander Scott Kazmir on the 15-day disabled list with lower back stiffness. Matt Palmer was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake and will replace him in the starting rotation, at least in the short-term.

“It’s just lower-back tightness, nothing out of the ordinary,” Kazmir said. “It’s very frustrating. I just did a couple things to change my delivery, and it ended up stiffening up on me.”

I’m not going to say this injury isn’t legitimate, but considering that he’s coming off the worst start of his career, the timing is curious to say the least.

As we learned with Perez last season, the Angels can only keep Kazmir on a rehab assignment for so long. Because Kazmir has more than five years of service time, he has the right to refuse a minor league assignment. If the Angels were to cut him loose, they would be responsible for his $12 million salary for this season and the $2.5 million buyout on his option for 2012.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.