Blackburn was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on Sunday, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.
Blackburn threw the ball well early in camp, but he's been sent to Triple-A where he'll open the 2019 campaign. He's surfaced in the major leagues with the Athletics in each of the last two seasons but struggled to a 7.16 ERA with 19 punchouts over 27.2 innings last year.
Blackburn allowed two hits and recorded a strikeout over three scoreless innings in Saturday's 1-0 Cactus League win over the Indians.
One of multiple pitchers vying for the Athletics' fifth and final rotation spot, Blackburn turned in a gem during this time on the mound. Following an injury-marred 2018 that featured a pair of injured list stints, Blackburn has yet to walk a batter over five spring frames and earned high praise from manager Bob Melvin following Saturday's appearance, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. "He looked by far the best, his bullpens, anything," Melvin said. "Good life in his arm today. Ball was moving late, had a good breaking ball. Looked like when we've seen him pitch really well in Oakland. This was a different guy for me."
There's a decent chance the game gets rained out, but if it goes on as planned, Blackburn will toe the rubber first for Oakland. This is especially encouraging given that the right-hander missed the seance half of the 2018 season due to elbow tendinitis. With his health woes seemingly behind him, Blackburn can focus on winning a major-league rotation spot, though that's hardly a guarantee given his 4.48 career ERA in the majors and the wealth of starting pitchers in camp for Oakland.
Blackburn (elbow) should be healthy for the start of spring training, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Blackburn was shut down from throwing in July due to tendinitis in his right elbow, although the Athletics believe he'll be good to go come February. The starting rotation is far from set, but he'll be a candidate to earn a spot near the back end during spring training.
Blackburn (elbow) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list Friday.
Blackburn's progression has been slow since being shut down in early July, but his move to the 60-day disabled doesn't prevent him from returning before the end of the regular season. The 24-year-old remains without a timetable for his return as his throwing program advances slowly. The Athletics needs to create space on the 40-man roster for the acquisition of right-hander Cory Gearrin, prompting the move.
|6/25/2019 vs St. Louis|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2014||AFX-Kane County Cougars||9||4||3.23||24||24||0||0||0||117.0||108||48||42||6||7||31||75|
|2015||AFA-Myrtle Beach Pelican||7||5||3.11||18||18||0||0||0||89.2||89||36||31||3||6||22||63|