Twins' Blackburn might go to bullpen, or back to minors

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 18, 2012 - 11:44 PM
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Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn

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SEATTLE - With Nick Blackburn seemingly out of answers for how to end his season-long struggles, the Twins are weighing options such as sending him back to Class AAA Rochester, having him skip a start or moving him to the bullpen.

Blackburn is winless since June 22, and Friday's 5-3 loss to the offensively challenged Mariners dropped him to 4-9 with a 7.39 ERA.

"We're going to try to figure out what the right thing is to try and get this guy back on track," said Rob Antony, Twins assistant general manager, on Saturday. "He had some concerning statements. 'I'm not sure what to do' -- when big-leaguers have thoughts like that, then you know their confidence is struggling."

After Friday's game, Blackburn said, "It's tough to have any confidence. I'm still fighting to turn it around, but I don't know what changes to make at this point."

Pitching coach Rick Anderson missed Friday and Saturday's games to tend to a personal matter, but he's scheduled to return Sunday.

"When Andy comes back, he'll go over in detail what happened with Blackie," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If there's anything to be done with him, I'll talk to [Blackburn] before anybody else."

Etc.

• Brian Dozier left Saturday's game for Class AAA Rochester in the top of the fourth inning after tweaking his knee, but the injury didn't appear serious.

• Ben Revere (sore ankle) wasn't in the lineup for the second consecutive game but was available off the bench and could be ready to start Sunday.

• Denard Span (sore clavicle) missed his fifth consecutive game, and was behind Revere progress-wise, but the Twins didn't rule him out to play Sunday.

• Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, a friend of FSN analyst Ron Coomer, was a special guest of the Twins during Saturday's batting practice.

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