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.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.