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Updated: August 21st, 2011 2:16pm
Blackburn exits early with 'sharp' forearm pain; roster move likely

Blackburn exits early with 'sharp' forearm pain; roster move likely

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A rough stretch for Minnesota Twins starter Nick Blackburn got even worse on Sunday against the New York Yankees.

After walking the bases loaded with one out in the second inning, the right-hander left the game with a right lateral forearm strain. Anthony Swarzak came on in relief.

"I was a little sore coming into today, but playing catch and everything felt great," said Blackburn, who will be re-evaluated on Monday. "It felt better than it did yesterday, but I through a curveball today (during warm-ups) -- my first curveball of the day -- and it (was) a pretty sharp pain. And after that it kind of continued. ...

"In the second inning, I just couldn't control anything. ... I was struggling bad enough, couldn't throw any strikes and figured it was time to shut it down for the day."

Swarzak will replace Blackburn for his next scheduled start on Friday, and because the Twins used so many relievers on Sunday manager Ron Gardenhire said a roster move is likely before Monday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Heading into the game, Blackburn had allowed at least five earned runs in six of his previous nine starts, but he says his arm "has been feeling great this whole year," adding "I think it's just kind of a freak deal. ...

"It's not like it's anything that feels like it's deep in the tendons or anything, so I think that's pretty good news."

Blackburn did say he has experienced some mild soreness in his wrist over the last couple weeks, but classified it as "more annoying" than anything else.

As for the roster move, Gardenhire mentioned Sunday that he and pitching coach Rick Anderson would like to take an extended look at newly-acquired Lester Oliveros, so he might be someone to keep an eye on.

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