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Updated: April 30th, 2010 1:01pm
Blackburn to rejoin team next week, Manship to start Saturday

Blackburn to rejoin team next week, Manship to start Saturday

by Phil Mackey
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With Nick Blackburn's start being pushed back tonight because of a family issue, Kevin Slowey will attempt to get back on track tonight in Cleveland after a shaky start at Kansas City last weekend.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said today on 1500 ESPN that Blackburn will likely rejoin the team back in Minneapolis on Monday, but it's unknown when Blackburn will return to the starting rotation.

The Twins will likely recall right-hander Jeff Manship to start Saturday's game, and Brian Duensing will also be available in long relief. UPDATE: The Twins have made the move official, placing Blackburn on the family emergency list and recalling Manship. Blackburn must stay on the list for three to seven days.

In four starts at class-AAA Rochester this season, Manship has thrown 20 2/3 innings with a 3.48 ERA, 13 strikeouts, and three walks.

Because Blackburn is likely to be placed on the bereavement list, the Twins would not have to demote anyone from the current 25-man roster to make room for Manship.

Gardenhire also announced that third baseman Nick Punto (groin/hip) is expected to be activated from the disabled list tomorrow, and he hinted that right-hander Pat Neshek may soon be in line for a demotion to class-AAA Rochester.

Neshek, who battled a finger injury earlier this month, has seen his fastball dip into the mid-80's this season following Tommy John surgery.

The Twins begin a three-game series against the Indians tonight, first pitch at 6:05 on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd