MLB notebook: Blackburn injury leaves A's short on starters

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[March 23, 2018]    The Oakland Athletics already thin starting pitching rotation took another hit on Thursday.


Right-hander Paul Blackburn is experiencing forearm tightness and will be sidelined through the beginning of the regular season, manager Bob Melvin told reporters.

The A's were already missing Jharel Cotton, who will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, and A.J. Puk was shut down this week due to biceps soreness, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Oakland is down to five available starters, Daniel Gossett, Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden and Andrew Triggs, heading into the start of the season. The A's signed Trevor Cahill on Monday, but Melvin said he is not ready to handle starters' innings yet.

-- The Baltimore Orioles tabbed right-hander Dylan Bundy as their Opening Day starter when they face the Minnesota Twins on March 29.

The 25-year-old received the nod over right-hander Kevin Gausman, who started the 2017 opener.

Bundy went 13-9 with a 4.24 ERA in 28 starts last season. He is 23-15 with a 4.13 ERA over two-plus major league seasons.

-- New York Mets right-hander Rafael Montero has a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow and will likely need Tommy John surgery, the team announced.

Montero, 27, was once considered one of the Mets' top prospects, but was competing for a spot with the team this spring. He had a 9.00 ERA and 10 strikeouts and six walks in nine Grapefruit League innings across seven appearances, including one start.

-- In an effort to get Jason Motte from major league camp to Triple-A Memphis, the St. Louis Cardinals released the right-hander with an aim to quickly re-sign him.

The Cardinals inked Motte to a minor league deal last month. Because of the 35-year-old's major league service time, the Cardinals must allow him the chance to sign with another major league club before sending him to the minors.

Motte will be on the market for 48 hours and will need to sign a new minor league deal if he is to return to St. Louis.

-- Two key pieces on the Cleveland Indians' 2016 pennant-winning team are heading in opposite directions ahead of the 2018 season.

Outfielder Rajai Davis was informed Thursday that he has made the Indians' 25-man Opening Day roster while first baseman Mike Napoli was released in a procedural move to get him to Triple-A Columbus.

Both Davis and Napoli joined the Indians on minor league contracts last month.

--Field Level Media

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