Paul Blackburn and Manny Piña will start the season in IL

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Two players who should have been on the Oakland A’s Opening Day roster, starting pitcher Paul Blackburn and catcher Manny Piña, will start the season on the injured list, coach Mark Kotsay said Friday.

Piña, who is expected to start the season as a backup to Shea Langeliers, received a brace after inflammation was discovered on his left wrist, the same wrist he underwent surgery on last May while playing for the Atlanta Braves. Piña began to experience discomfort during a game at the A’s minor league compound on Monday.

Candidates to take Piña’s spot on the season opener roster are Yohel Pozo, Kyle McCann and Tyler Soderstrom.

Kotsay said Blackburn, an Antioch native and Heritage High School graduate, had an avulsion in the nail on his right middle finger and is currently unable to handle a baseball.

In two Cactus League appearances, Blackburn had a 16.62 ERA in 4 1/3 innings, with his last outing on March 10. He played ball on Tuesday with no problems, but it’s unclear when he’ll hit a mound again.

Blackburn was a starting contender for the A’s on opening night. The good news for the A’s is that James Kaprielian could be on track to start the season in rotation.

Kaprielian had another strong outing on Friday as he allowed five hits and one earned run in 4 1/3 innings as the A’s edged the Giants 7–2 in Mesa.

Kaprielian struck out four and didn’t allow a walk, and now has nine strikeouts and a 1.59 ERA in 5 2/3 innings in Cactus League play.

“It’s a shame,” Kaprielian told of the Blackburn news. “He’ll be fine. The rest of us just have to get ready. We will be proud to be a family as a team and feel comfortable passing the ball to the next player.”

Kaprielian continued to pitch well after having offseason surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder.

“(Kaprielian) threw punches, hit the zone,” Kotsay told “All good signs. Today was a little more shoulder stress. We’ll see how he recovers. At this point, if we can keep pushing, keep building him, he should be given the opportunity to open up with us.

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