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Friday, July 18, 2008
Blalock activated from DL, in Friday's starting lineup for Rangers

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Texas Rangers came out of the All-Star break on Friday with a familiar face playing a familiar position.

Hank Blalock was activated from the disabled list and returned to his original position of third base.

Blalock, a former All-Star at third base who has played that position his entire career with Texas, was scheduled to make the switch to first base when he returned from the DL.

But Chris Davis has emerged as a power threat at first base for the Rangers, with six homers and a .655 slugging percentage in 58 at-bats. So the Rangers asked Blalock to return to his old position, and Blalock was back at third base for Friday night's game against the Minnesota Twins.

"I hope it will be easy. I can't predict how I will play over there," Blalock said. "I know I've played plenty of games over there, to where it is a comfortable position for me. I'm going to work hard to get the rust off, and go play the second half just like I never made the transition."

Blalock first went on the disabled list after tearing his left hamstring while running out a double against the Twins on April 25. He also had surgery to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome in his right hand, and his stay on the sidelines was extended when he had a setback during a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma.

The return of Blalock, who has hit .299 with three homers and seven RBIs in 22 games this season, is a big boost for the Rangers. They are 43-30 since April 25, the third-best record in the majors over that span, but still trail the Angels by 7 games in the AL West.

The Rangers also purchased the contract of catcher Taylor Teagarden from Triple-A Oklahoma on Friday, and manager Ron Washington threw the rookie right into the lineup to catch Kevin Millwood.

"I wanted to get his feet wet as quick as I possibly can," Washington said. "What better way than to go out there and catch a veteran?"

Teagarden was selected to the Team USA roster to compete in the Beijing Olympics, but Washington and the Rangers may have other plans for him.

"I would like to see him go to the Olympics," Washington said. "But if we have a need for him, sorry."

To make room for Blalock and Teagarden, the Rangers optioned right-hander Kameron Loe to Triple-A Oklahoma and designated right-hander Joselo Diaz for assignment.

Loe made one appearance in his second callup, giving up three runs in two innings of a 9-7 loss to the White Sox on July 11.

Diaz also made his lone appearance of the season in that game, and the Rangers have 10 days to trade, release or outright him to the minors.