Blackburn was named as the Athletics’ representative in the 2022 All-Star Game, which will take place on July 19 at Dodger Stadium. Approximately three years ago, Blackburn was designated for assignment by the club for assignment.
“I have no words to express myself,” Blackburn replied. “The journey to get here has been incredible. My sincere gratitude goes out to the team for the opportunity to play and be a member of the All-Star game.”
Blackburn has pitched 91 innings with a 6-4 record and a 3.36 earned run average. He has struck out 73 and walked 23. According to the league’s rules, at least one player must be selected per team, and the A’s, with the worst record in baseball at 29-57, had no candidates with solid credentials.
Having pitched at least five innings in 12 of 17 starts, Blackburn, 28, has already reached a career-high in the number of innings pitched. Blackburn was a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs out of Heritage High in Brentwood in 2012. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2016 and then to Oakland in exchange for Danny Valencia.
Blackburn suffered a forearm injury the following season after being struck by a line drive off Trey Mancini’s bat. After being DFA’d a year ago, he returned as a non-roster invite.
He is likely to have a journey unlike any of the other All-Stars who will be playing in the All-Star Game this year, Kotsay said. “I was hit in the wrist, and had to recover from that.
He is a guy who has been designated, so he must have the right mindset to return to his former position. The reward he received should be well deserved and he should feel very rewarded.”
Earlier that morning, Blackburn and the rest of the team met at a “travel meeting.” Instead, Kotsay informed them Blackburn had been selected.
“There was never a point in the season where that crossed my mind,” Blackburn said. “My goal was to make the team coming out of spring training and that’s what happened. Then I wanted to be the best I can be. That’s how I’ve approached this year.”
As a sponge, Blackburn looks forward to learning from some of the best players in the world.
According to Blackburn, he is more excited than anything else to be around those guys and talk to them. I would like to talk to (Shohei) Ohtani. I would like to speak with (Justin) Verlander. Take a look at what they have done to set themselves up for successful careers and pick their brains.”
The fact that Dodger Stadium constitutes a road trip may be a good omen for Blackburn if he is selected for the game. In seven home starts, he has a 6.75 ERA and on the road he has a 5-0 record with a 1.28 ERA.
During a career that spanned 1997 through 2013, Kotsay was among baseball’s better outfielders. According to him, he thought he had the best chance of becoming a major player in 2004 when he played for the A’s.