SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Blackley didn't make much of an impression during his brief tenure with the Giants in 2007. He might be better equipped to command attention this time. Blackley, 29, returned to the Major Leagues for the first time since his Giants stint as San Francisco purchased his contract Tuesday from Triple-A Fresno. Blackley replaced left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee. Blackley excelled for Fresno, compiling a 3-0 mark with a Pacific Coast League-best 0.39 ERA in four appearances (three starts). A prototypical soft-tossing lefty in his previous manifestation as a Giant, Blackley said that he now pitches with more control (three walks in 23 1/3 innings for Fresno), velocity and maturity.
"Back then, my fastball struggled to break glass," Blackley said. "I threw 85, 88 maybe 90 [mph] on a good day back then. I feel like I've gotten stronger as I've gotten older. I've found the low 90s pretty regularly. It gives you a lot more room for error and makes your offspeed pitches a little better." Since the Giants discarded him following the '07 season, Blackley has traveled the baseball world -- and the world, period -- in search of another big league chance. He pitched in the D-backs, Mets and A's organizations and played in Korea, Mexico and his native Australia before re-signing with the Giants. "I figured if I kept pitching the way I was, somebody would give me a chance," Blackley said. "I feel more confident in myself. That's a huge key in being able to handle it."