– The Oakland Athletics have begun their expected changes leading up to the trade deadline, sending lefthander Scott Kazmir to his hometown Houston Astros for a pair of minor leaguers.

Oakland receives righthanded pitcher Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham in the swap with its division rival Thursday. Both were at Class A Quad Cities.

The A's made the announcement ahead of their afternoon series finale against Toronto, so instead of Kazmir starting against the Blue Jays he was saying his goodbyes in the clubhouse.

He was 5-5 with a 2.38 ERA in 18 starts for the A's.

Houston began the day in second place in the AL West, two games behind the defending division champion Los Angeles Angels.

ASSOCIATED PRESS