Hank Blalock joined Tampa Bay on a minor league deal but almost instantly many expected him to share time at DH with Pat Burrell. While Willy Abar may be as good of a bet as Blalock is with the stick there seems to be no shortage of people who think perhaps a change of scenery may once again breath life into the 29 year old’s bat.
Had Blalock not hit a home run off Eric Gagne in an All Star game or hit 25 plus home runs in his first three seasons it’s like that Texas would have given up on him as he’s been injury prone, ineffective or both for the last four seasons.
Prior to last season when Blalock played in 123 games and hit 25 homers he had not topped 258 or 12 home runs over the two previous injury plagued seasons.
Thus far Blalock is hitting .300 with 3 doubles and 2 walks in 10 at-bats this spring. While the Rays said they planned to mainly use Burrell in the DH role this season it’s clear that if Blalock can keep up that type of production he’ll replace “Pat the Bat” at the position. Had Burrell not been such a disappointment last year (.221/.315/.367) the Rays wouldn’t have been looking at Blalock’s services this winter and it’s not like Blalock was obvious that Tampa Bay offered him the best chance of regular playing time.
Hank Blalock once looked to be the type of third basemen an organization could build itself around now he’s fighting for a job. His 25 home runs last year suggest he still has some life in his bat but can he do it again in 2010 and maybe with a little more contact this season? Time will tell, and it doesn’t figure to take too much time.
|49 Winston Abreu||R/R||6-2||170||04/05/77|
|73 Joe Bateman||R/R||6-1||185||05/06/80|
|47 Jeff Bennett||R/R||6-3||200||06/10/80|
|53 Joaquin Benoit||R/R||6-3||220||07/26/77|
|74 Jason Cromer||R/L||6-4||225||12/11/80|
|72 Richard De Los Santos||R/R||6-1||170||06/01/84|
|52 Carlos Hernandez||S/L||5-11||205||04/22/80|
|76 Heath Phillips||L/L||6-3||275||03/24/82|
|75 Heath Rollins||R/R||6-1||185||05/25/85|
|68 R.J. Swindle||L/L||6-3||190||07/07/83|
|65 Craig Albernaz||R/R||5-8||195||10/30/82|
|61 Nevin Ashley||R/R||6-1||215||08/14/84|
|67 Alvin Colina||R/R||6-3||210||12/26/81|
|64 Tim Beckham||R/R||6-0||190||01/27/90|
|9 Hank Blalock||L/R||6-1||200||11/21/80|
|69 Angel Chavez||R/R||6-0||185||07/22/81|
|26 Joe Dillon||R/R||6-2||215||08/02/75|
|63 J.J. Furmaniak||R/R||6-0||190||07/31/79|
|32 Chris Richard||L/L||6-2||210||06/07/74|
|43 Ryan Shealy||R/R||6-5||240||08/29/79|