When April concluded, Nick Blackburn was struggling. Despite escaping the month with a respectable 1-1 record, the right-hander was splattered for a .653 slugging percentage thanks to 16 extra base hits including six home runs. In addition to the hard-hit balls, Blackburn was not the same precision-guided pitcher, often falling behind hitters and eventually walking them with a higher frequency then we have come to expect (eight walks in 23.2 innings). Surely this was not the same Nick Blackburn from a year ago but rather a doppelganger equipped with the same luxurious beard.
As the month concluded, Blackburn revealed that he was experiencing elbow discomfort, needed to tinker with his mechanics and then was sidelined for a family emergency for 10 days. When he returned, the tendinitis pain was gone and his mechanical kinks were ironed out. After his first start in the month, manager Ron Gardenhire told Sid Hartman that:
"We had the little issue where his mechanics were a little out of whack, and you know what, now he's fine. He's actually healthy and his mechanics are good again. We got his arm, got that little situation out of there, and he's throwing the ball really good. It's sinking again."
Line Drive Pct