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.

The deadline is 8 PM ET Monday for Shohei Ohtani situation to be resolved

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Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.

Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.

Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.