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Blackburn exits early with right elbow tightness

Special to MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Rangers right-hander Clayton Blackburn left Monday's 4-2 loss against the Indians in the first inning with tightness in his throwing elbow after allowing three runs on four hits while recording only one out.

Blackburn returned to the team's facilities in Surprise during the game and will be further evaluated. Team physician Keith Meister, who has performed elbow surgery on a number of Rangers pitchers over the years, is scheduled to arrive in Surprise on Thursday.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Rangers right-hander Clayton Blackburn left Monday's 4-2 loss against the Indians in the first inning with tightness in his throwing elbow after allowing three runs on four hits while recording only one out.

Blackburn returned to the team's facilities in Surprise during the game and will be further evaluated. Team physician Keith Meister, who has performed elbow surgery on a number of Rangers pitchers over the years, is scheduled to arrive in Surprise on Thursday.

View Full Game Coverage

After Blackburn threw one ball to the sixth hitter he faced, Rangers manager Jeff Banister and athletic trainer Matt Lucero walked to the mound to check on the pitcher. Blackburn and Lucero then walked to the clubhouse in right-center field as Jose Leclerc relieved Blackburn.

"The way it looked, the optics of it -- [it] doesn't look real good," Banister said.

Blackburn, a 25-year-old right-hander, got off to a strong start in Cactus League play, tossing five scoreless innings to begin the spring. He was 23-16 with a 4.00 ERA in 62 Triple-A starts the past three seasons.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Rangers on Monday.

Texas Rangers, Clayton Blackburn