Tagged: Nick Blackburn

Kyle Gibson to Rochester; Blackburn update

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

CHICAGO — With right-hander Jeff Manship getting called up to Minnesota, the Twins moved 2009 first round pick Kyle Gibson up to Triple-A Rochester to take Manship’s spot in the rotation.

Twins Minor League director Jim Rantz said that the team made the move on Thursday to promote Gibson. And while it’s Gibson’s third stop this season, it will likely be his last.

Rantz said that the team plans to cap Gibson’s innings at around 150-160 this season and Gibson currently has thrown 136 1/3 in stints for Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain this season. Gibson went 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA for Fort Myers and then went 7-5
with a 3.68 ERA for New Britain.

Right-hander Nick Blackburn pitched five scoreless innings in his third start for Triple-A Rochester on Thursday night, but Rantz said Blackburn planned to return home after the outing. Blackburn’s wife, Alicia, is expecting the couple’s first child. Rantz said they expect Blackburn to rejoin the team in time for his next start on Wednesday. In three starts for Rochester, Balckburn has posted a 1.10 ERA.

Blackburn to ‘pen and Duensing to the rotation

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins addressed their struggling rotation on Wednesday, moving Nick Blackburn to the bullpen temporarily and shifting left-hander Brian Duensing into Blackburn’s spot in the rotation.

Twins acting manager Scott Ullger announced the move
before Wednesday’s afternoon game against the Indians. Manager Ron Gardenhire was
tending to a family matter and was not at Target Field.

The move is considered temporary and will allow the Twins to give
Blackburn a mental break. Duensing, who has a 1.67 ERA in 43 relief innings, will start Friday in Baltimore against the Orioles.

Blackburn is not the only starter to be struggling of late, but his troubles have perhaps been the most pronounced. After going 6-1 with a 4.28 ERA through the first two months of the season, Blackburn has been unable to produce similar results. In his last nine starts, Blackburn is 1-6 with a 9.88 ERA and 11 home runs allowed. Opposing teams are hitting .378 over that stretch with a .426 on-base percentage.

Twins sign RHP Nick Blackburn to four-year deal

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. –The Twins announced Sunday that they have signed right-hander Nick Blackburn to a four-year, $14 million contract which includes an $8 million option for the 2014 season.

Blackburn was 11-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 33 starts for the Twins last season. He led the team in innings pitched (205 2/3) and was second on the team in wins.

A 29th round pick of the Twins in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Blackburn has a career record of 22-24 with 202 strikeouts in 72 appearances (66 starts).

The Twins have also signed the remaining unsigned players on their 40-man roster to one-year deals.

The make-or-break roadtrip begins: Twins at White Sox 9/21

The Twins critical 10-game, 11-day roadtrip kicks off tonight in Chicago against the White Sox. Currently Minnesota sits 3 games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central race. They’ll have a chance tonight to pick up a half-game as Detroit is idle today — their final off day of the season.

While many people have written off Chicago as they now sit 6 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the division, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t so quick to do the same. He reminded everyone that the White Sox still have these three games to try to make up ground on the Twins and six left with Detroit as well.

“I don’t think the Sox are quitting right now,” Gardenhire said. “When you get a chance to play the other teams that are aehad you, that always makes you feel a little bit better about it. I’m sure the Sox are thinking that too

“They’ve got as much life as we do. We’re just a little closer. They’ve got six games with [Detroit]. We’ve got four.”

Also, the Twins aren’t skipping any starters with the off day but it sounds like they’ll make one alteration. Gardenhire said that the four big guys will be starting against Detroit in that series — meaning everyone besides Jeff Manship. So Manship will start tomorrow vs. Chicago and then he’ll stay on five days to pitch on Sunday at Kansas City. Nick Blackburn will be pushed back a day to start Monday, the first game of the series in Detroit.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (76-73)
2nd place in AL Central, 3 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Jose Morales, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (10-11, 4.34)

White Sox (73-77)
3rd place in AL Central, 6 1/2 games back
Scott Podsednik, CF
Gordon Beckham, 3B
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Paul Konerko, DH
Mark Kotsay, 1B
Jermaine Dye, RF
Carlos Quentin, LF
Chris Getz, 2B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Pitching: RHP Daniel Hudson (0-0, 4.76)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Perkins still sick, Blackburn to start Fri. vs White Sox

Glen Perkins came into the ballpark on Thursday morning to see the trainers and then was sent to see team physician Dr. Vijay Eyunni to get checked for strep throat. Perkins has been battling a fever and a very sore throat.

With Perkins still ill, Nick Blackburn will get the start against the White Sox on Friday. Saturday’s start is still in question as it depends on Perkins’ health. If Perkins can’t go Saturday, the Twins will turn to either Brian Duensing, Bobby Keppel or R.A. Dickey to make the spot start.

Brendan Harris and Joe Crede are getting a rest for the series finale with the Yankees. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Harris has been playing a lot of baseball lately and felt it time to give Harris’ legs a rest. For Crede, it’s just a day game after night game rest because Gardenhire doesn’t want to push it with his third baseman.

The rest days also give Matt Tolbert and Brian Buscher a chance to start for the Twins

Kevin Slowey (strained right wrist) will begin his throwing program on Friday. He’ll play catch from 60 feet and then move to 90 feet on Sat. Gardenhire said that Slowey will stay in the Twin Cities for the All-Star Break and will continue his throwing at the Metrodome. He’s expected to make a five-inning Minor League start before he returns from the DL. Slowey is eligible to return on July 19.

A reminder that you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Here are your lineups as the Twins try to prevent the season sweep by the Yankees.

Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Jorge Posada, C
Robinson Cano, 2B
Melky Cabrera, LF
Cody Ransom, 3B
Brett Gardner, CF
Pitching: Alfredo Aceves, RHP

Denard Span, CF
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, LF
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, SS
Pitching: Francisco Liriano, LHP

Fort Lauderdale and Mauer updates

Greetings from Fort Lauderdale, where the Twins are set to take on the Orioles this afternoon.

I’m here to cover the game but the big news of the day will be when the Twins learn the result of Joe Mauer’s magnetic resonance arthrogram of his lower back. Mauer was able to get in and have the exam done on Tuesday afternoon. Twins physician, Dr. John Steubs, said that he expects to get the results of the test this morning. The team won’t comment on those results until after Steubs consults with other doctors and talks with Mauer and the Twins officials.

I’ll keep you updated with news on that as soon as I get it.

I stopped by the clubhouse this morning and both Justin Morneau and Jesse Crain had returned after Team Canada was knocked out of the World Baseball Classic. Morneau expressed disappointment at the quick exit but said that Crain looked really strong in his outings. I’ll have more on that in a story later today.

As for the game, Nick Blackburn is on the trip and is expected to pitch one inning after starter Glen Perkins is finished. Joe Crede has made the trip and will get the start at third base today. Joe Nathan is also making his second trip in a week to Fort Lauderdale, which he joked hasn’t happened in the six years he’s been with the Twins.

For now, here are today’s lineups.

Denard Span, LF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Joe Crede, 3B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brian Buscher, 1B
Mike Redmond, C
Brendan Harris, SS
Carlos Gomez, CF
Pitching: Glen Perkins, LHP

Brian Robers, 2B
Adam Jones, CF
Ty Wigginton, 3B
Aubrey Huff, 1B
Matt Wieters, DH
Luke Scott, LF
Ryan Freel, RF
Gregg Zaun, C
Jolbert Cabrerea, SS
Pitching: David Pauley, RHP

Time changes and other morning updates

The Twins are scheduled to take on the Netherlands today at Hammond Stadium in a 2:05 p.m. ET start, which is an hour later than normal Spring Training day games. The players seemed as confused as anyone by the time change. Baseball is a sport that’s based upon habit and although today’s game just meant pushing back everything an hour, it seemed to get most of the players out of their usual routines.

As for news this morning, we talked to Nick Blackburn about his sore left knee. He said that he woke up on Friday morning, the day after his start in Sarasota, and noticed his knee was swollen. Doctors told Blackburn that might happen due to the arthroscopic surgery he had on the knee this offseason. Blackburn said this was the first time he’s experienced the swelling since the surgery, but doesn’t expect it to be a long-term thing…”I don’t see this going into the season,” he said.
UPDATE: Blackburn threw a seven-minute bullpen on Thursday morning and felt nothing. The plan is to have him throw another bullpen in two days to test the knee.

Joe Mauer reported that he expected to have small setbacks like the one he experienced the other day as he makes his comeback from kidney surgery. “You have to try out and see where you are at,” Mauer said.

Closer Joe Nathan is scheduled to throw to live hitters during batting practice this morning. If he doesn’t feel any soreness in his shoulder, then he likely will return to game action this weekend.
UPDATE: Nathan threw 28 pitches during his live batting practice session and said afterward that he hasn’t “felt like that in four years. That’s about as good as I’ve felt in a long time.” In total, Nathan threw around 40-50 pitches with his side work before the session. The plan now is to have the closer pitch in Sunday’s contest at Fort Lauderdale against the Orioles.

All right, here are your lineups today. The Netherlands starting pitcher is right-hander Tom Stiufbergen, a Twins prospect who missed the entire 2008 season as he recovered from right shoulder surgery. Another familiar face to Twins fans will also be in the dugout for the Netherlands. Bert Blyleven is the pitching coach for the team.


Carlos Gomez, CF
Alejandro Machado, 2B
Joe Crede, 3B
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Mike Redmond, C
Brock Peterson, 1B
Jason Pridie, LF
Matt Tolbert, SS
Pitching: Kevin Slowey

The Netherlands
Gene Kingsdale, RF
Sharlon Schoop, 2B
Randall Simon, 1B
Greg Halman, CF
Yurendell de Caster, 3B
Sharnol Adriana, DH
Bryan Engelhardt, LF
Kenley Jansen, C
Hainley Statia, SS
Pitching: Tom Stuifbergen