Nick Blackburn was already facing an uphill battle to rejoin the Twins’ rotation thanks to his awful performance during the past few seasons, but now he may not even be healthy for spring training.
Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that Blackburn will undergo wrist surgery and will be in a cast for at least six weeks. He previously underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow in October.
Blackburn is owed $5.5 million in the final season of a misguided contract extension handed out by the Twins, but he was dropped from the 40-man roster (and predictably went unclaimed on waivers) amid a career-worst season in which he threw 99 innings with a 7.39 ERA.
For all the talk of needing to improve their rotation the Twins haven’t exactly made any impact moves to actually do so this offseason and Blackburn’s injury further thins out the fifth starter candidates.
Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.
Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.
Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.
Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.