Twins to assess Blackburn's future

Twins to assess Blackburn's future

Twins to assess Blackburn's future
SEATTLE -- Right-hander Nick Blackburn has continued to struggle this season, and the Twins are going to explore their options with the sinkerballer moving forward.

After giving up five runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings against the Mariners on Friday, Blackburn fell to 4-9 with a 7.39 ERA in 19 starts this season. It's been a continuation of his tough second half last season, as he is 5-14 with a 7.26 ERA over his last 30 starts, dating back to July 27, 2011.

Blackburn is under contract for next season at $5.5 million. The Twins remain hopeful he can get back to his old ways, but assistant general manager Rob Antony acknowledged the Twins are in a tough spot because of his struggles.

"It's a fair question and we're going to have some discussions about it, we're going to try to figure out what the right thing is to try and get this guy back on track," Antony said. "He had some concerning statements -- 'I'm not sure what to do.'

"When big leaguers have thoughts like that, then you know their confidence is struggling. He had a rough go again [Friday] night. He gave up a lot of hits. He settled down a little bit after giving up the three runs; I thought he battled. But he's scuffling, no question about."

The Twins will talk to Blackburn in the next few days and decide what the best course of action for him for the rest of the season.

"We'll explore all options, whether it's putting him in the 'pen, whether it's sending him down, skipping him a start -- there are a lot of different things you can do," Antony said. "We're going to get together and talk about it, try and see what answers we can come up with and what we can do differently, and what he needs to do differently, how we can try and get him going again."