Tampa Bay Rays
Rays designate Blalock for assignment
BOSTON - Designated hitter Hank Blalock was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays after Tuesday's 8-5 loss to the Red Sox to make room for outfielder Gabe Kapler, who will return from the disabled list tonight. The seldom-used Blalock batted .254 in 63 at-bats with a homer and seven RBIs. "The at-bats were not going to be there," Maddon said. "The opportunity was not going to be there." Kapler was hitting .217 in 83 at-bats, including .215 in 65 at-bats against lefties, before going on the disabled list June 12 with a strained right hip flexor that had bothered him since spring training.Blalock wouldn't say he expected the move, but he wasn't exactly caught off guard. "I wasn't really sure. I try not to think about possible roster moves that might happen in the future. If you think like that than you're not being a good teammate for that day," he said. "Everyone knew that Kap was getting ready to come off the DL. They told me I would be the one the roster move was made for." Blalock, a two-time All-Star with the Texas Rangers, found himself without a job when his contract expired after last season. The Rays signed him to a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league camp one week into the exhibition schedule. Blalock didn't make the team out of spring training and was given 48 hours to latch on with another team. Failing that, he accepted his assignment to Triple-A Durham and batted .349 with four home runs and 24 RBIs in 26 games. He was recalled May 15 when designated hitter Pat Burrell was designated for assignment. Blalock started 13 times at DH and once each at first and third base. "Every part-time player wishes they could play on a more consistent basis, but my role that was explained to me when they brought me up a couple of months ago was going to be a part-time DH kind of thing, so I kind of just accepted that," he said. "(I was) trying to do whatever I could to help the team when I was in there." Blalock said he will fly back to St. Petersburg and clear out his locker at Tropicana Field. He will then fly to his home in San Diego and hope for a call from a team needing a left-handed corner infielder. "Hopefully, there will be a team that wants me to play for them," he said. Blalock said at the end of spring training that he wanted to be a member of the Rays. That thinking didn't change much despite his limited playing time and his wished his now ex-teammates well. "This is such a high-energy team," he said. "There is so much emotion on this team, this team is capable of winning the World Series, and if there is no other jobs out there for me in the American League I hope they do."