Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Blalock in, Burrell out
Posted May 15, 2010 by Tribune Sports
Updated May 15, 2010 at 01:01 PM
By TONY FABRIZIO
ST. PETERSBURG - The Rays today have designated DH Pat Burrell for assignment and promoted two-time All-Star Hank Blalock from Triple-A Durham.
Burrell, a high-profile free agent signing before last season, was batting .202 with two home runs and 13 RBIs after hitting only .221 last year. Because he makes $9 million this season, he is likely to clear waivers.
Blalock signed a one-year deal with the Rays during spring training after not receiving another offer. When the Rays didn’t have a spot for him on the opning-day roster, Blalock accepted an assignment to Triple-A Durham, where he was hitting .349 with 24 RBIs, four home runs and a .405 on-base percentage.
The 29-year-old has an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to become a free agent next week if the Rays didn’t promote or trade him. He is expected to arrive in time for today’s 4:10 p.m. game against the Mariners at Tropicana Field.
Manager Joe Maddon offered another vigorous defense of Burrell after the Rays’ 4-3 loss to Seattle on Friday night in which Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton and Burrell went a combined 0-for-12.
“Pat is the first guy here every day,” he said. “I came here today about 2 o’clock, and he was already getting his work done. Pat, really, he’s a tirelness worker,. It’s unfortunate. Obvioujsly. you’d like to have him hitting for a higher average right now. But, listen, this guy is a pro. He works.”
Blalock hit .234 with 25 home runs and 66 RBIs in 123 games for the Rangers last year. He hit a career-high 32 home runs in 2004