Clock may be ticking on Blalock
If the Rays were considering Hank Blalock as a potential replacement for struggling DH Pat Burrell, they may have to decide soon.
Agent Scott Boras indicated Tuesday that Blalock would activate the out clause in his Triple-A contract within the next week, forcing the Rays to either promote him to the big-league team or allow him to become a free agent and sign elsewhere.
“I would imagine that we’ll probably know something about Hank in the next seven days,’’ Boras said at Angel Stadium. “The time has come. The time has come. He's playing third base, obviously he's hitting well, he's a young guy.
“The thought many teams had about players have come to fruition as we expected in the first five-six weeks. I think a lot of people understand Hank’s a better choice for them, so we’ll see. Obviously the first hurdle is that Tampa Bay has to make their decision.’’
Blalock, 29, has been sizzling at Durham, going into play Tuesday with an International League leading .375 average, plus four homers, 23 RBIs (in 23 games) and a .987 OPS.
Blalock has no big-league offers when he signed with the Rays during spring training, and agreed – at first reluctantly – to go to Durham. With several teams, specifically Seattle, struggling offensively, interest in Blalock may be increasing. Rays officials, as usual on pending player moves, had no comment. Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman was in Durham Tuesday on a pre-planned visit. The Rays also could seek to trade Blalock if they didn’t plan to call him up.
Burrell, making $9-million, is hitting just .221 and is playing only against righthanded starters.