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Oakland A's Scott Kazmir will start Friday, Drew Pomeranz going to bullpen?

Two Athletics left-handers are slated to return from injuries, but Drew Pomeranz may find his spot in the bullpen hinges on whether the Kendall Graveman renaissance is just a mirage.

Scott Kazmir starts Friday against the Boston Red Sox.
Scott Kazmir starts Friday against the Boston Red Sox.
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Oakland Athletics left-handed starting pitcher Scott Kazmir will return to the rotation Friday, manager Bob Melvin informed beat reporters before Tuesday's game against the Detroit Tigers ('s Jane Lee tweets). Melvin also said Drew Pomeranz should come off the disabled list this week from a sprained AC (shoulder) joint, but that it's "up in the air" whether Pomeranz returns to the rotation, according to the Bay Area News Group's John Hickey.

Ike Davis is slated to begin a rehab assignment sometime next week and A.J. Griffin pitches for the Stockton Ports today, tweets the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea.

Scott Kazmir starts Friday against Boston

Left-hander Scott Kazmir will start Friday against the Boston Red Sox after his turn in the rotation was skipped due to his exit from his May 27 start after 47 pitches with left shoulder tightness. An MRI revealed there was no structural damage to the shoulder. He threw a bullpen session today and "felt great," according to's Jane Lee.

With the off day, the A's were able to just slot every pitcher back a day, and so Kendall Graveman will start on regular rest against Alfredo Simon.

Drew Pomeranz's place may depend on Kendall Graveman

With Drew Pomeranz returning to the club this week after getting a cortisone shot, whether he ends up in the bullpen or in the rotation probably depends on whether Kendall Graveman's strong return continues. Pomeranz has frequently struggled to go deep into games, with six of his eight starts going five innings or fewer.

Graveman, in his two starts since replacing Pomeranz during his trip to the disabled list, has conceded three earned runs in 11⅔ innings for a 2.31 ERA, struck out 10 and walked four while allowing one home run. You can see the movement the extreme ground ball pitcher is getting as he keeps the sinker down and fools hitters:

If Pomeranz moves to the bullpen, he would replace Arnold Leon as the quality long reliever ready to make a spot start. That would be a significant improvement to a bullpen whose back end is still settling into place.

Drew Pomeranz, times through the order, 2015
1st PA 72 2 3 14 .231 .268 .369
2nd PA 72 1 7 9 .266 .338 .391

This season, Pomeranz the first time through the order has struck out 14 and walked three this year, compared to nine strikeouts and seven walks the second time through. Moving to the bullpen, Pomeranz avoids his second time through the order penalty.

Pomeranz made just one appearance of two innings on his rehabilitation assignment, allowing no baserunners and striking out three batters.