Twins demote Nick Blackburn and his 8.10 ERA to Triple-A

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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.