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Sunday Baseball Brunch: Nathan and Blackburn

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Joe Christensen has a couple new developments for us via his blog at StarTribune.com:

Joe Nathan is heading to the Twins cities today to have an MRI done on his surgically repaired right elbow.  While this certainly represents a new level in the seriousness of the medical attention the elbow is receiving, there may yet be reason to keep the concern somewhere below full fledged panic:

"We're going to get some pictures just for some piece of mind," Nathan said.

Nathan said he would have taken a couple days off from throwing anyway, so he'll get the elbow looked at, comparing this MRI exam with one that he had before undergoing surgery.

We will all, certainly, be anxiously awaiting the results of this test.

Second, the Twins have signed a young player to a long term contract - no, not that one.  Nick Blackburn has signed a 4-year 14 million dollar extension with the club.  This contract also includes an 8 million dollar option for 2014.  This deal is a bit of a surprise as it comes a year before Blackburn is eligible for arbitration, and deals such as this are risky for young pitchers, but it gives the Twins cost certainty and allows the team to keep Blackburn at a modest price for his first year of free agency if they so choose.

Edit - There has been some confusion about this in the comments section:  Blackburn's deal covers this year, his final year of serfdom, and his three years of arbitration.  The option year would be his first year of free agency.