Updated: April 17th, 2010 3:25pm
Nick Blackburn battling sore arm, may have next start pushed back

Nick Blackburn battling sore arm, may have next start pushed back

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Nick Blackburn didn't have his best stuff on Saturday, and there was a reason for it.

The Minnesota Twins right-hander was dealing with soreness on the back of his throwing arm throughout his start and told trainers after the fifth inning he was done.

"It's something that I've dealt with earlier this year already," Blackburn said. "It's kind of an ongoing thing that we usually can keep under control, and today, I think for whatever reason, it was just a little bit more extreme than most days.

"It's happened at times where I'll throw the next day, I'll feel it, (then) go to throw my bullpen on the third day and I don't feel anything at all. So, it can be very day to day. ... Not a huge concern. The doc wasn't concerned at all. Just get a couple anti-inflammatories in me, and hopefully, it goes away."

With a day off on Monday, manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed pushing back Blackburn's next start is an option if the arm doesn't improve.

Blackburn said he felt something early when he threw his slider. He was OK for a couple innings, then began feeling it on all his pitches in the fourth and fifth innings, when the Royals rallied to tie the score at 5.

He once again allowed two home runs, increasing his season total to six, and now has allowed 13 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings (6.05 ERA).

Asked if more than anti-inflammatories might be needed to treat the arm, Blackburn said, "No, I don't think so. Like I said, tt wasn't a sharp pain, it wasn't a significant pain -- it was just kind of a throbbing that usually goes away. No concerns on part. Hopefully, we just get this knocked out. Ice a little bit, take a day or two off and get back out there."

With Jose Mijares (strained elbow) on the disabled list, Pat Neshek (finger) unavailable and Alex Burnett in transit from Class-AAA Rochester, the Twins' bullpen situation was so dire Gardenhire had starting pitcher Kevin Slowey put spikes on.

"If we got long today," Gardenhire said, "he was going to be in the ballgame."

The Twins had flexibility in that regard because they have an off-day on Monday, when Slowey's normal would come up in the rotation.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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