FORT MYERS, FLA. - Nick Blackburn continued his impressive spring Friday, holding the Orioles to one hit over four scoreless innings in a 3-1 loss for the Twins.
In four starts, including two B games against the Red Sox, Blackburn has yet to give up a run in 10 innings.
Blackburn went 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA last year and had surgery in September to relieve a pinched nerve in his right forearm. He's back to full health and credits his success to a subtle adjustment with his foot placement on the pitching rubber.
"I honestly don't remember having the movement [on the ball] that I have right now," he said. "I feel like everything's pretty sharp, and [moving] pretty late. I could be completely wrong, but ... I've been getting enough bad swings that kind of indicate I could be right about that."
Pitching coach Rick Anderson likes what he's seen from Blackburn, whose last effective season came in 2009, when he went 11-11 with a 4.03 ERA.
"Outstanding, he's been very good," Anderson said. "Pitching to both sides of the plate with angle and crispness to all his pitches. He's comfortable, confident, consistent with his delivery, all the things you're looking for."