OAKLAND – Following an injury-plagued nine months, Paul Blackburn is finally set to rejoin the Oakland A’s rotation.
Blackburn will start Monday when the A’s host Matt Olson and the Atlanta Braves at the Coliseum, marking the all-star right-hander’s first big league game since Aug. 4 of last year.
Blackburn, who missed the final two months of the 2022 season with a tear of the flexor tendon sheath in his pitching hand, pitched Wednesday for Triple-A Las Vegas in Tacoma and allowed five hits and one earned run on 73 pitches over five innings.
Blackburn, an Antioch native who attended Freedom High School in Oakley, suffered a right middle fingernail avulsion early in spring training. Blackburn was using a tool to help clean dirt from underneath his cleats when the tool slipped and slid underneath the fingernail.
As that began to heal, Blackburn, roughly three weeks ago, started to develop a blister on his right middle finger. Blackburn said it was the first time he’s had a blister of that nature, and it cost him about a month’s worth of starts.
Blackburn has started three rehab games this month, throwing a combined 10 2/3 innings with a 7.59 ERA. Friday, he threw a 25-pitch side session and reported no problems.
Blackburn was the A’s all-star last season and finished the season with a 7-6 record and a 4.28 ERA in 21 games.
He’ll join an A’s rotation that could use a boost in the worst way, as Oakland entered Friday with a team ERA of 6.88, easily the highest in the majors. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the A’s ERA is the highest by an AL or NL team since the 1930 Philadelphia Phillies had an ERA of 6.70.
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