Blackburn, who is on the disabled list with a left quad strain, allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with three walks over 3 2/3 innings against Triple-A Charlotte.
"He misfired a little bit," Gardenhire said. "He started off good. His fastball was good. As it went along, he kind of struggled with his command. He was rusty, but health-wise, he was good, which is the biggest part of the whole deal. You're hoping for a little better outing, but it was his first time throwing in a little bit."
Blackburn threw 68 pitches and is scheduled to make his next start with the Red Wings on Sunday. If all goes well in that outing, he's expected to rejoin Minnesota's rotation.