The Minnesota Twins have demoted right-hander Nick Blackburn to Triple-A and purchased the contract of reliever Casey Fien yesterday, reports Joe Christensen of the Minnesota Star-Tribune.
The Twins optioned [Nick Blackburn] today, promoting righthanded reliever Casey Fien to take his roster spot. Fien was added to the 40-man roster and will arrive in Detroit tonight, although he probably won’t be available to pitch until Thursday.
Blackburn, 30, is the second Twins starting pitcher to be optioned in as many days, joining fellow right-hander Liam Hendriks on the roster at Triple-A Rochester.
In 13 starts on the season, Blackburn has an 8.10 ERA and just 30 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings. Among starting pitchers with at least 60 innings under their belt this year, Blackburn's ERA ranks dead last by almost two full runs.
Blackburn has a career 4.79 ERA and 4.3 K/9 rate over six seasons in Minnesota. In the third year of a four-year contract with the Twinkies, Blackburn is still owed $5.5 million next season and has a team option for the 2014 season.
The 28-year-old Fien, who hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2010, has a 4.30 ERA and 8.2 K/9 rate in 46 innings of work at Triple-A this year.
Should the Twins eat the rest of Blackburn's contract?