GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Scott Kazmir's comeback has swerved into Cleveland's rotation.
Kazmir, a two-time All-Star with the Rays who hasn't pitched in the majors in almost two years, was chosen as the Indians' No. 5 starter on Monday by manager Terry Francona. His first start this season will come at Tropicana Field on April 6.
Kazmir pitched for the Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League last season. After signing a minor-league free-agent contract with the Indians on Jan. 8, the left-hander outpitched a group that included Daisuke Matsuzaka to make the starting staff.
"I'm very proud that this has happened," Kazmir said. "Knowing where I was a couple years ago and being able to be here now is unbelievable. I guess hard work does pay off."
Kazmir, 29, was in All-Star in 2006 and 2008 with the Rays and led the AL in strikeouts in 2007. He was 55-44 with a 3.92 ERA in six seasons with Tampa Bay.
His velocity had started to decline from its mid-90s peak when the Rays traded him to the Angels in 2009. He went 9-15, 5.94 in 2010 and made one start in 2011 before he was placed on the disabled list and released two months later.
BREWERS SIGN LOHSE: Right-hander Kyle Lohse has agreed to a three-year, $33 million free-agent deal with Milwaukee, according to several media reports. The Brewers will give up the 17th overall pick in the first-year player draft in June. Lohse, 34, went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA with the Cardinals last season, but teams appeared reluctant to sacrifice a first-round draft pick to sign him.
INJURY COMPENSATION: Players injured during the World Baseball Classic will have their salaries paid by the WBC organization while they are unable to play for their major-league teams, espn.com reported. Several players, including Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, were hurt during the tournament and are likely to start the season on the disabled list.
OBITUARY: Virgil "Fire" Trucks, who threw two no-hitters for the Tigers in an otherwise dreadful 1952 season and was the last pitcher to toss a complete-game no-hitter at Yankee Stadium, died Saturday near Birmingham, Ala. He was 95. Mr. Trucks pitched in the majors from 1941-58, helping the Tigers beat the Cubs in the 1945 World Series. He pitched his no-hitters in a year in which he went 5-19 for a Detroit team that lost 104 games.
ASTROS: Veteran left-hander Erik Bedard was told he will make the rotation.
CARDINALS: Rookie right-hander Shelby Miller will be the team's fifth starter, mlb.com reported. Miller, 22, is considered one of baseball's best pitching prospects. … Third baseman David Freese got an anti-inflammatory injection in his injured back and is questionable for opening day.
METS: Catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, the centerpiece of the trade that sent Cy Young Award-winning right-hander R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays, was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo. … Left-hander Pedro Feliciano will be sent to Buffalo for a month to build his arm strength. The reliever missed the last two seasons with the Yankees while dealing with shoulder injuries.
ORIOLES: DH Wilson Betemit suffered a torn ligament in his right knee in the fifth inning and will be reevaluated today.
PADRES: Right-hander Edinson Volquez will start on opening day, manager Bud Black announced.
PIRATES: Right-hander Jeff Karstens, who was scratched from Sunday's start with a sore shoulder, likely will start the season on the disabled list, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.