Nick Blackburn has one-and-half seasons and $8 million remaining on the contract extension the Twins misguidedly gave him in March of 2010, but today Minnesota sent the 30-year-old veteran and his 131 career starts to Triple-A.
Blackburn was never a particularly good bet to sustain long-term success because of his miniscule strikeout rate, but injuries have eliminated whatever thin margin for error he already had and basically turned him into a batting practice pitcher.
Since signing the contract extension he’s started 65 games with a 5.51 ERA and 4.2 strikeouts per nine innings while allowing opponents to hit .309 with a .500 slugging percentage.
Career minor leaguer Casey Fien has replaced Blackburn on the roster, but the Twins haven’t said yet who’ll take over his rotation spot.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a Mets player struggles mightily for an extended period, to the point where it seems pretty obvious that something is wrong with him. The team says that he’s merely “sore” or “banged up” or something and the team either plays short-handed for a while or deals with the diminished player taking his hacks. Then, when he is eventually placed on the disabled list, it’s revealed that he has more serious trouble than general soreness or being banged up.
You ask for miracles, Theo, I give you the New York Mets:
He had been put on the DL a couple of days ago, but now it’s clear what the problem is. It may also illuminate why Bruce is hitting just .212/.292/.321 with three homers and 17 RBI in 236 plate appearances this season.
The Mets have not announced a timetable for Bruce.