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Nick Blackburn injured as Twins continue to lose to Yanks

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The Minnesota Twins dropped three of four to their betters, the New York Yankees, an organization that seems capable of fielding its Class A farm club and beating our guys nine times out of ten.

At least the Twins unloaded on the Yanks on Saturday night, taking that contest 8-4, perhaps the lone feather on their growing collection of dunce caps. Otherwise, we lost games by scores of 8-4, 8-1, and a not-that-close 3-0 game on Sunday.

The loss on Sunday dropped the team to 55-71, 13 games behind the Detroit Tigers, who swept the Indians this weekend.

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To make matters worse, after walking three straight in the second inning, Nick Blackburn came out of the game with a lateral forearm strain. According to Joe Christensen at the Strib, doctors are going to look at him more closely on Monday.

Though we know little about Blackburn's injury as of this writing, especially how long he will remain out of service, perhaps it's good the guy is given a break. His post All-Star break numbers are pretty stinky: 0-4, 5.40 ERA, opponents hitting a robust .340 average against him, which means that even the worst player is hitting about as well as the league leader.

In Sunday's game, Anthony Swarzak, with his 3.25 ERA, came in and kept the Yankees' bats cool, squirming out of Blackburn's all-walk, one out, bases loaded jam in the second. He then proceeded to throw two one-two-three innings, the only innings the Yankees didn't have a baserunner.

Phil Dumatrait worked the fourth and fifth, giving up a small-ball run to the Bronx Bombers. Then Jose Mijares threw back-to-back home runs in the seventh, the first being Curtis Granderson's totally awesome inside-the-park job, which culminated in a head first slide and a close play at the plate.

And that was all she wrote. Why Swarzak's not a starter, replacing Blackburn (perhaps for the rest of the season), remains a mystery, at least to me.

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Trade rumors continue to swirl around Jim Thome, perhaps the only bright star in this inky-black season. The Seattle Times' Larry Stone reports that the Phillies could try and glom Thome.

If my understanding of waivers is correct, or more importantly if a smarter columnist's understanding of waivers is correct, it makes no sense whatsoever that the White Sox would pass on Thome so the Phillies could add him to their roster. And Stone doesn't say why, or how, the Phillies are going to get the slugger.

Still, all this speculation isn't good for those of you who hope he'll play out 2011 in a Twins uniform.