Twins send Nick Blackburn and $14 million contract to minors

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To create room on the roster for new closer Matt Capps the Twins have demoted Nick Blackburn to Triple-A.
Minnesota misguidedly gave Blackburn a four-year, $14 million contract this offseason instead of simply going year-to-year with a player they controlled through 2013 anyway.
Blackburn succeeded for two seasons despite a horrible strikeout rate and mediocre ground-ball percentage, but was bumped from the rotation last week after posting an MLB-worst 6.53 ERA in 18 starts and is now headed to Rochester following one poor relief outing.
Because they owe him $13.25 million for the next three seasons the Twins are heavily invested in getting Blackburn turned around, so joining the rotation at Triple-A makes plenty of sense. Brian Duensing has done well in two starts since replacing Blackburn in Minnesota’s rotation.

Joe Girardi is not a fan of Game 162 scheduling

Joe Girardi
Getty Images

The Yankees fell behind early to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, a day after dropping both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader. Their game, as did every other game on Sunday with the exception of the Braves-Cardinals doubleheader, started at 3:05 or 3:10 EDT, a change Major League Baseball recently made to create fairness on the final day of the season.

Girardi is not a fan. Per the Associated Press:

It was cloudy at Camden Yards at 3:05 p.m., but late-afternoon games often make it difficult for batters to see pitches.

Girardi said, “Here’s the thing that bothers me: If it’s a sunny day you’re playing in shadows.”

He added, “If it’s the most important game of the year to get in, I don’t think that’s right.”

Understanding the idea is for every team to play at the same time, Girardi said, “Then play all night games.”

One wonders if MLB had scheduled Sunday’s slate of games for the night, if Girardi would have instead complained about batters losing fly balls in the stadium lights. Furthermore, both teams have to play in the same conditions.

Video: Ichiro Suzuki pitches an inning for the Marlins

Ichiro Suzuki
AP Photo

Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was given an opportunity to play a new position in Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies. After the Phillies rallied to take a 6-2 lead in the seventh, the Marlins let Suzuki take the hill in the eighth. And, in news that surprises no one, he was impressive.

Though Suzuki gave up a run on two hits, he flashed a fastball that hit the mid-80’s and a breaking ball with some bite.

Suzuki, who turns 42 years old later this month, is 65 hits of 3,000 in his major league career. The Marlins are interested in bringing him back in 2016.