Blackburn, who was a favorite for one of the spots on the Oakland Opening Day roster, will miss the beginning of the season with what manager Bob Melvin called forearm tightness, according to SF Gate’s Susan Slusser.
The 24-year-old Brentwood native joins Jharel Cotton, who underwent successful Tommy John surgery Wednesday, and AJ Puk, who is suffering from biceps soreness though he was unlikely to be a part of the Opening Day squad, among the ranks of the unavailable injured. Add on the fact that late-spring free-agent additions Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson will have gotten nowhere near the required preseason perpetration innings come March 29 and the A’s rotation is set.
Daniel Gossett will likely fill the No. 5 spot. Gossett, 25, did not get a starting nod but was effective in four relief appearances, allowing seven hits, four walks and three earned runs in 9-2/3 innings (2.79 ERA, 1.14 WHIP). He is coming off an up and down rookie season that saw his best performance (7 one-run innings against the Giants) far outweighed by games in which he was unable to last through 5 frames (seven times). The end result was a 4-11 record and 6.11 ERA.