Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 8/20/12
There were already going to be plenty of question marks surrounding the Minnesota Twins' rotation for the 2013 season. For a while, Nick Blackburn didn't appear to be one of the question marks.But the Twins outrighted Blackburn to Triple-A Rochester on Monday, which changes at least his immediate future with the club. Outrighting a player is different than optioning a player to the minors. By being outrighted, Blackburn is no longer on the team's 40-man roster a sign that the club is prepared to move in a different direction. When a player is outrighted, he must first clear waivers before the major league team can assign him to the minors. That means 29 other teams passed on Blackburn, who was 4-9 with a 7.39 ERA in 19 starts with Minnesota this season.With Blackburn off the 40-man roster at this point in the season, it's highly unlikely he'll be put back on it in order to be a September call-up in a week and a half. So how does Blackburn factor into Minnesota's rotation in 2013? Earlier this month, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Blackburn would be "in the mix" next year but will have to earn a spot in the rotation."There are days that there'd be no question when you watch him that, 'OK, he might string one together here,'" Ryan said earlier this month. "Obviously there are other times that things have not gone well. But he'll be in the mix."That fact became even more evident after Monday. Blackburn will be in the final year of his contract in 2013, when he'll make 5.5 million. The Twins have an 8 million club option on Blackburn for 2014, but it appears unlikely that option will get picked up.So a look at Minnesota's current rotation will yield a much different picture than what the Twins broke camp with this spring. None of Minnesota's five current starters were in the rotation to start the season. Left-hander Francisco Liriano was traded to Chicago. Jason Marquis is also gone after a brief and unsuccessful stint with the Twins; he's now with San Diego after Minnesota released him in late May. Veteran right-hander Carl Pavano has been on the disabled list since June 4. Scott Baker has missed the entire season after having Tommy John surgery. Liam Hendriks whose 2012 season was briefly delayed due to food poisoning has spent much of the year with Rochester. Three of Minnesota's five current starters Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Cole De Vries began the year in the minors. Left-hander Brian Duensing, who started Monday against Oakland, was in the bullpen to begin the season. Whoever is called up to take Blackburn's spot in the rotation (possibly Hendriks) will be yet another pitcher who has spent most of the year in the minors.As a result of the inconsistency, Minnesota's starting rotation has posted the worst ERA in the American League (5.47) prior to Monday. Only Colorado's starters have a worse ERA (6.22).There's a chance the Twins could see right-hander P.J. Walters return this season. Walters has been on the disabled list a right shoulder injury, but made a rehab start Sunday for Rochester. In that start, Walters pitched three scoreless innings with six strikeouts an encouraging sign for a Twins team needing any positive pitching news it can get.Minnesota doesn't have a ton to play for in the final month and a half of the season, but it will serve as an audition of sorts for several Twins pitchers. It appears Blackburn, entering the final year of a four-year, 14 million deal, will be among the cast of pitchers waiting in line for an audition.Only time will tell if he can land the role.Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Grading the deal: Thunder acquire Carmelo Anthony

Oakland A’s support catcher Bruce Maxwell kneeling during national anthem

Top takeaways from college football Week 4

Stephen Curry: Trump tweet ‘cemented’ stance about White House visit

Baker Mayfield seen talking trash to Baylor players before game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NC State DE Bradley Chubb apologizes for spitting on FSU logo

Rutgers TE uses rear end to make great catch

Report: Lions sign Jim Caldwell to multi-year extension

Wilton Speight leaves game with possible back injury

Roger Goodell preaches ‘unity’ in response to Trump comments

Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 3

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker