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2013 Twins Spring Training Non-Roster Invitee: Nick Blackburn

Can he regain his old form?

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Nick Blackburn, RHP
Age: 31

Turning 31 in four days, Blackburn is looking to regain the consistency that made him a valuable pitcher. To make this happen, statistically the easiest thing for him to do would be to locate his command and to bring his walk rates back down. After living on the margins, the last couple of seasons have seen Blackburn's already flimsy peripherals collapse in on themselves. Of course that's the prescription, and not an analysis of his symptoms.

What will work for Nick? Finding a way to repeat his desired throwing motion would help his location and would help to give his pitches the movement they need, which would be a start. He's been hurt a bit but nothing serious, and in 2012 a number of tweaks and minor adjustments were noted. None of them apparently worked, and he ended up putting in 36.2 innings with the Red Wings last summer. It'll take a lot for him to not start there this time around.

2013 will be the final season of the extension that he signed prior to the 2011 season, since it's obvious that Minnesota won't be picking up that $8 million option. He'll be making $5.5 million whether he's on the 25-man roster or not this year; not that this is the way he'd prefer to earn that paycheck.

If he pitches well, if his mechanics are fluid and consistently repeated, if the confidence is there...Blackburn has an outside chance to make one last good impression. His chances improve if Scott Diamond won't be ready to go on Opening Day. But those are a lot of ifs.

Turns out Blackburn had arthroscopic surgery on his throwing wrist and is currently in a cast. He's not pitching for a while.

Chances of making the team: unlikely.