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.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.
The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.
Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.