Blackburn, who struck out six and allowed two hits and one walk over four scoreless innings in a 6-2 Cactus League loss to the Mariners on Thursday, is making an impression in his bid for a rotation spot, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. "It's not easy to come in and pitch three or four innings like that in the middle of the game, and he's been able to do it a couple of times," manager Bob Melvin said. "Kept the ball down, keeps it on the ground, that's what he does."
Blackburn lowered his spring ERA to 3.86 with the impressive outing, which represented another positive step in his bid for a starting rotation spot. The 24-year-old right-hander has alternated a trio of scoreless efforts with a pair of appearances in which he's given up multiple earned runs this spring, but he's been able to miss plenty of bats on his way to 14 strikeouts over 14 innings. With Jharel Cotton (elbow) potentially facing a long-term absence, Blackburn's chances of securing a starting role appear especially strong at this point.
Blackburn, who gave up two earned runs on two hits and two walks over three innings while recording three strikeouts in a Saturday start against the Rangers, is having trouble separating from other contenders for one of two potential starting rotation spots, Alyson Footer of MLB.com reports.
Blackburn has essentially alternated a pair of questionable outings with two impressive efforts over his four appearances, as he'd also allowed four earned runs over two innings versus the Cubs on Feb. 28. The Rangers sent six hitters to the plate against him in the first inning Saturday, with two of them eventually crossing the plate. While a Jake Smolinski error on a routine fly ball didn't help matters, a two-run home run by Elvis Andrus was all on Blackburn, who acknowledged that his location was off on that pitch. He did settle down over his final two frames, and the 24-year-old still feels confident in his ability to even out his performances. "My body feels good and I felt good with the stuff I had today. I feel like my fastball command came a long way since my first outing of spring. I just continue to build off that."
Blackburn, who's competing for a spot in the starting rotation, is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and .174 BAA over seven innings across three spring training appearances.
As the disparity between the ERA and his WHIP and BAA metrics implies, Blackburn has actually been more effective than inept. However, a forgettable two-inning encounter with the Cubs last Wednesday in which he allowed four earned runs on three hits and a pair of walks has served to sully his overall line for the moment. Blackburn has been the diametric opposite in his other two trips to the mound, firing a pair of scoreless frames versus the Angels in his Feb. 23 spring debut, and then racking up a trio of strikeouts over three perfect innings in a 9-9 tie with the White Sox on Monday. The 24-year-old right-hander appears fully recovered from the wrist injury that ended his season prematurely in 2017, leaving him poised to potentially claim a rotation spot if he can remain consistent.
Blackburn (wrist) is fully healthy heading into 2018 and will be looking to secure a spot in the rotation, Martin Gallegos of The Mercury News reports.
Blackburn was able to toss his first bullpen session of the spring camp Friday, and felt no ill effects from a right wrist injury that caused him to end last year prematurely. The right-hander was struck by a line drive against the Orioles in August, and was forced to shut down instead of rushing through a recovery since the team was well out of playoff contention. In 10 starts, he posted a 3.22 ERA and 1.26 WHIP and a 22:16 K:BB over 58.2 innings. Moving forward, he will be competing with a bunch of others for one of three spots left in the rotation behind Sean Manaea and Kendall Graveman. Even if he's able to secure a spot in the rotation, Blackburn's inability to strike batters out significantly limits any upside in the fantasy realm.
Blackburn (wrist) was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list Monday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Blackburn's season was cut short in August after he took a comebacker off his wrist. The right-hander, who turned in a 3.22 ERA over 58.2 innings last season despite unsightly peripherals (2.5 percent K-BB), should compete for a roster spot in spring training.
|10/1/2017 vs Texas|
|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|