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OAK@SF: Kazmir fans four, holds Giants scoreless

OAKLAND -- Scott Kazmir enjoyed a career renaissance during his brief time with the Indians a year ago. As fate would have it, the A's left-hander will stare down the Tribe during his first outing of the season with his new club on Tuesday night.

Well, maybe Kazmir will not be staring anyone down.

"I know they're going to try to mess with me while I'm up on the mound, try to take away from my focus," Kazmir said. "But I'll just be locked in. I can't even stare at them because they're a bunch of jokesters over there."

Talk about a good scouting report on Cleveland.

"He'll get a smile from me in the box or something," Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "And I'm sure there will be something going on when [Nick Swisher] gets in the box."

Kazmir, who will be opposed by Indians right-hander Corey Kluber on Tuesday night, signed a two-year contract worth $22 million with the A's over the offseason. The lefty earned that deal after an incredible comeback campaign with the Tribe last season.

After being out of affiliated baseball in 2012, Kazmir joined the Indians on a Minor League contract and won a job out of Spring Training. He then won 10 games, posted a 4.04 ERA and compiled 162 strikeouts in 158 innings. In September, when Cleveland punched its ticket to the playoffs, Kazmir had a 2.57 ERA with 43 strikeouts against just four walks in 28 innings.

"It's awesome to see a guy go from his backyard and independent ball to signing a two-year, $22 million deal," Kipnis said. "When you become friends with a guy, that kind of security, that kind of stuff for his family, you want nothing but the best for him. You're really happy about it. You wish it could've been with us, because you thought he had a good year.

"But, either way, the way it worked out, you're still happy for him to get that deal. I'm hoping he has a bad start tomorrow, though."

The A's will be looking to bounce back from Monday's 2-0 loss to the Indians, who rallied for two runs in the ninth inning against closer Jim Johnson. It was the kind of late rally that Kazmir saw plenty of times during his brief tenure with the Tribe last year. The lefty is more than familiar with the lineup he will face come Tuesday.

"They know me. I know them," Kazmir said. "It's more of a cat-and-mouse game now. They know my tendencies and, for the most part, I know their tendencies. It's going to be a game of adjustments I think. It's going to be fun out there, for sure."

Indians: Raburn gets nod at DH

Manager Terry Francona likes not having to dedicate the designated-hitter role to one player. Entering this season, Francona plans on using the DH slot as a way to rotate various players in and out of the lineup based on a platoon advantage, or a way to give a particular position player the day off from being in the field.

For Monday's season opener against the A's, Francona handed the DH duties to right-handed-hitting Ryan Raburn, even though Oakland had righty Sonny Gray on the mound. Do not be surprised if Raburn -- a role player last season for Cleveland -- garners more at-bats against right-handers this season.

"He had the highest OPS of our team last year," Francona said. "People look at him as a role player. I don't know that that necessarily has to be the case. He's got some thump in that bat."

A's: All hands on deck

The platoon-crazed A's are slated to face just one left-hander in their first seven games, forcing manager Bob Melvin to get creative when it comes to getting the entirety of his roster playing time.

Catcher Derek Norris will start one of the club's three games against the Indians, said Melvin, who also plans to utilize his bench often.

"I do like to try to get everyone involved within the first three or four days, especially the bench players, the role-type players," Melvin said. "They're getting consistent at-bats in Spring Training, and you don't want anyone sitting around for six or seven days and losing their edge. So we'll take a look at that."

Worth noting

• Indians closer John Axford struck out two and walked two in the ninth inning on Monday, but he avoided harm to collect his first save since Oct 2, 2012. Axford went 0-for-7 in save opportunities during the 2013 season, but was signed by Cleveland over the winter to serve as its new stopper.

• The A's lost on Opening Day for the 10th consecutive season, marking the longest such streak in Major League history. Oakland had been tied with the Atlanta Braves (1972-80) and New York Giants (1893-1901) at nine in a row.

• Gray turned in six shutout innings on Monday, making him only the second starter in Oakland history to allow no runs on Opening Day. Tim Hudson also accomplished the feat in 2003. Comments