Blackburn was placed on the 15-day IL on Aug. 10 retroactive to Aug. 5 with inflammation in the middle finger of his right hand. After visiting Dr. Donald Sheridan, a hand specialist in Phoenix, on Monday, it was revealed that Blackburn was suffering from a tear of the flexor tendon sheath, according to team head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta.
“We're going to treat it conservatively at this point in time and splint him for the next six weeks,” Paparesta said. “It was Dr. Sheridan’s recommendation that Paul no longer tries to pitch competitively this season.”
Paparesta said the cautious approach will allow Blackburn to rest and recover for the time being, with hopes that should the injury end up requiring surgery, it could be done with enough time for the right-hander to be ready by Spring Training.
Blackburn, a six-year veteran who earned his first All-Star nod with Oakland this season, was 7-6 with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts (on the road, he sported a 6-1 record and a 2.12 ERA in 13 starts). Blackburn experienced early success to start the season, posting a 1.35 ERA in April and 2.62 ERA in May, before hitting a downward trend toward the second half of the season, posting a 7.36 ERA in July.
“I feel like I’ve been out of whack the last two or three weeks,” Blackburn said in late July. “I’m doing things to try to get back on that path. It’s frustrating going out there feeling good about the work you put in between starts and the results are what they are. It’s very frustrating.”