After a strong 2017 season, Paul Blackburn struggled with both injuries and poor performance last year.

The A's right-hander went 2-3 with a 7.16 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in six starts and missed the final three months with an elbow injury.

Now just days away from spring training, Blackburn is fully healthy and ready to prove he belongs in the A's starting rotation.

"I've never really lost confidence in myself," Blackburn said to NBC Sports California. "I know last year I struggled at points, probably the worst I've ever struggled in pro ball. It's never gotten to that point where I didn't believe in myself. I think just believing in yourself can go a long way."

Blackburn, 25, was a first-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2012. The Antioch native hasn't yet lived up to his potential, but he will have a great chance to earn a spot in Oakland's rotation to start the season.

"I feel good," Blackburn said. "I've been cleared for spring training and everything. I've gotten off the mound three times now and everything is feeling good, back to normal."