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November 07, 2008

Option on Blalock, DH, exercised

The Rangers are bringing back Hank Blalock, exercising a $6.2 million club option, and he will likely find himself in the lineup as the designated hitter most days. Manager Ron Washington said that Blalock will play in the field, possibly even at third base if he gets his shoulder strong enough, but using Blalock as the DH allows Chris Davis to move back to first.

Third base could be handled by a free agent (Joe Crede, Casey Blake) or by Travis Metcalf, whom general manager Jon Daniels considers an above-average defender. But with the DH spot taken up, the Rangers lose flexibility with their outfielders. Josh Hamilton will play every day, so what will happen between David Murphy, Marlon Byrd and Nelson Cruz? Does this suggest that Milton Bradley isn't coming back unless he can play right field, if at all? If Bradley doesn't come back, who hits fourth?

Then again, Blalock could be traded to a team in need of a left-handed bat and all of the questions the Rangers seemed to have created become moot.

-- Jeff Wilson

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