Spring Training is still a month away and the Twins already lost a possible starting pitcher when the team announced that Nick Blackburn will undergo surgery on Wednesday at Mayo Clinic to repair a ligament in his wrist and it is expected that he will miss the beginning of the season. Blackburn will wear a cast for 6 weeks before even starting rehab. This isn’t a real serious blow to the team since it was unlikely that Blackburn would have been in the rotation anyway but it still hurts the Twins to lose one of their most experienced starting pitchers and a possible fallback option. Blackburn is currently not on the Twins 40 man roster but will still pocket $5.5 million this season regardless where he might be pitching. He had bone spurs removed from his elbow following the 2010 season, had the nerve surgery in 2011 and had a bone chip removed from his elbow following the 2012 season before this latest development.
Blackburn who will turn 31 in February had a miserable season in 2012 and was sent down in mid-August after putting up a 4-9 record with a 7.39 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP. In 98.2 innings Blackie allowed 143 hits and 26 walks while striking out just 42. I know a lot of people will say “no loss” but you should never close the door on an experienced starter that has shown a good sinkerball in the past. Who knows, stranger things have happened.