Scott Kazmir cleared to return to A’s rotation Friday

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Athletics left-hander Scott Kazmir had to make an early exit from a start last Wednesday against the Tigers after experiencing tightness in his throwing shoulder, but he made it through a 30-pitch bullpen session Sunday without issue and said he felt “great” after a followup throwing session Tuesday.

MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports that Kazmir has been cleared to return to the A’s starting rotation this Friday night for the opening of a three-game weekend series at Fenway Park. There will be no pitch count, though the A’s trainers are sure to watch him closely considering his littered history of arm injuries and the value he gives Oakland as a (healthy) trade chip.

Kazmir, 31, has a 2.93 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 57/25 K/BB ratio through 58 1/3 innings this season for the last-place A’s, who entered play Tuesday with a disappointing 20-33 record. Kazmir is in the final year of a two-year, $22 million contract.

Nelson Cruz hits 400th career home run

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Twins DH Nelson Cruz hit his 400th career home run, a solo home run in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the Royals. The blast padded the Twins’ lead to 8-6, and was also No. 40 on the season for Cruz.

Cruz, 39, is the 57th member of the 400-homer club. He was previously tied with Andres Galarraga and Al Kaline at 399. Cruz has hit 163 of his homers with the Mariners, 157 with the Rangers, and 40 each with the Orioles and Twins.

Cruz entered Sunday batting .300/.383/.624 with 104 RBI in 500 plate appearances. Pretty good production for the Twins from a slugger on a one-year, $14.3 million contract. The Twins hold a $12 million club option for 2020 as well.