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.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”