Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 8/21/12
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.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon


McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker