Paul Blackburn

Kotsay shares Blackburn's next steps after A's place pitcher on IL

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The Athletics’ best starting pitcher will miss his next couple of scheduled starts.

On Monday, Oakland announced it placed righty Paul Blackburn on the 10-day IL (retroactive to May 11) with a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. In turn, the A’s summoned left-handed pitcher Easton Lucas from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Before the A’s (19-23) matchup with the Houston Astros (15-25) on Monday at Minute Maid Park, Oakland manager Mark Kotsay shared the latest on his ace.

“You know, I think we don't know the exact event,” Kotsay said about the cause of Blackburn’s injury. “But we do know that he's pitched with it pretty much since spring training. After the outing on [Friday], he felt it more, I think. But the day, after it usually kind of subsided, it didn't really go away.

So we had it obviously looked at and yeah, he's got a stress fracture or what, how do I wanna say that? Stress reaction, not fracture stress reaction in his right foot.”

Blackburn leads Oakland starters with a 4.11 ERA and a 3-2 record over eight appearances this season. 

He started the 2024 MLB season as one of baseball’s best pitchers -- pitching 22.1 scoreless innings for the longest season-opening streak in Oakland history -- but recently has struggled, allowing 14 earned runs over his last three starts.

In his last outing against the Seattle Mariners on Friday at T-Mobile Park, the Antioch native allowed seven earned runs in just four innings, leading to an 8-1 A’s loss.

Perhaps Blackburn’s injury is a reason for his troubled outings as of late. Nonetheless, Oakland would love to have its 2022 MLB All-Star back on the mound sooner than later.

“I do,” Kotsay concluded when asked if he knew Blackburn’s next steps. “He'll be in a boot, a walking boot for at least two weeks and then get reevaluated. So that's, that's all I've got on that one.”

Lucas, Blackburn's temporary replacement, is 2-0 with the Aviators, carrying a 2.87 ERA after 15 2/3 innings of work this season.

The A’s enter this Blackburn-less stint third in the AL West, trailing the second-place Texas Rangers (22-20) by three games and the first-place Mariners by 3.5 contests.

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