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Updated: April 14th, 2012 1:55pm
Nick Blackburn to undergo MRI after leaving with shoulder stiffness

Nick Blackburn to undergo MRI after leaving with shoulder stiffness

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins are already down one starting pitcher, and now they may be down two.

Right-hander Nick Blackburn left Saturday's game against the Texas Rangers with stiffness in the back of his right shoulder. The Twins sent him to get an MRI Saturday afternoon and will likely get the results by Sunday.

"There's some concern," general manager Terry Ryan said. "I'll be able to give you more Sunday morning once I get the results. ... I think it was just a pitch. He cramped up."

Blackburn grimaced after throwing a fastball up and away to left-handed batter David Murphy in the top of the sixth inning -- his 79th pitch of the ballgame. Twins trainer Dave Pruemer and manager Ron Gardenhire rushed out to the mound, and after a brief discussion Blackburn was removed from the game.

Prior to leaving, Blackburn held a potent Rangers lineup to two runs on seven hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. The Twins have been very pleased with how well Blackburn has thrown in two starts, and in a handful of spring outings.

"He was pitching well," Ryan said. "There's no doubt that he was giving us every opportunity to win that game, and we didn't do a very good job in some at-bats. We didn't get people in. But hopefully he's not hurt. We don't need that."

Blackburn underwent forearm surgery in early October, but he reported no issues in that area all spring.

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
In this story: Nick Blackburn, Ron Gardenhire