Nick Blackburn exits start with right posterior shoulder stiffness

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The Twins were given quite the scare this afternoon when Nick Blackburn exited his start against the Rangers due to injury. Fortunately it doesn’t appear to be serious.

According to Tyler Mason of FOX Sports Midwest, Blackburn was diagnosed with right posterior shoulder stiffness and is listed as day-to-day. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings this afternoon before the injury. He gave up five runs over six innings in a loss to the Angels in his season debut last week.

Scott Baker is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair a flexor pronator tendon in his elbow, so the Twins can ill afford another injury in their rotation. It’s too soon to tell whether Blackburn will miss his next scheduled start, but Anthony Swarzak could potentially stick around with Jason Marquis on track to join the team for his first start next week.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.