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Dickey aims to stay on roll vs. A's

Special to MLB.com

Right-hander Paul Blackburn is set to make his MLB debut on Saturday when the A's host the Braves for the second contest of their three-game series at the Coliseum.

Blackburn, 23, was acquired by Oakland in the November trade that sent infielder Danny Valencia to the Mariners. Blackburn is 5-6 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings for Triple-A Nashville this season. According to A's manager Bob Melvin, Blackburn has shown good development of his sinker, curveball and changeup.

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Right-hander Paul Blackburn is set to make his MLB debut on Saturday when the A's host the Braves for the second contest of their three-game series at the Coliseum.

Blackburn, 23, was acquired by Oakland in the November trade that sent infielder Danny Valencia to the Mariners. Blackburn is 5-6 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings for Triple-A Nashville this season. According to A's manager Bob Melvin, Blackburn has shown good development of his sinker, curveball and changeup.

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"We'll probably know a little bit more about him after [Saturday]," Melvin said. "He's a guy that's been recommended from development."

Atlanta will counter with veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. The 42-year-old right-hander enters Saturday's contest on a bit of a roll, as he has allowed just one run over his past 14 innings, resulting in two victories.

"It just looks like he's in a good rhythm with [his knuckleball]," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Release point is good and consistent. It's working really well."

Things to know about this game

• Right-hander Jharel Cotton was originally scheduled to start Saturday, but has been dealing with blister issues. Melvin said the team aims to push Cotton back again instead of sending him to the disabled list.

• While this might mark Atlanta's first trip to Oakland since 2003, Dickey (6-5, 4.63 ERA) is familiar with the Coliseum. He's 1-4 with a 3.33 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) throughout his career at the ballpark.

• First baseman Yonder Alonso (right knee contusion) has missed two consecutive starts since leaving Wednesday's game early, but Melvin is hopeful the slugger can return to the A's lineup on Saturday. Likewise, Braves manager Brian Snitker will have to wait and see if first baseman Matt Adams (left foot contusion) will be good to go after sitting out Friday's game.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Braves on Friday.

Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, Jharel Cotton, R.A. Dickey