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Blalock in, Burrell out

Posted May 15, 2010 by Tribune Sports

Updated May 15, 2010 at 01:01 PM


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

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