05/12/2002 2:53 pm ET
Blalock optioned to minors
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock was optioned Sunday to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for injured starter Chan Ho Park on the 25-man roster.
Blalock, 21, hit .200 with one home run and six RBIs in 32 games. He made 28 starts at third base, but led the team with 33 strikeouts. He also committed five errors.
"He came into Spring Training and won the job. He played well," Rangers manager Jerry Narron said. "Here, he's struggled offensively and had not made any adjustments. At Triple-A, he'll get to play every day. We're confident he's going to be a good player, we just didn't want to see him struggle."
Blalock went hitless in his last 11 at-bats since going 3-for-3 on Monday. He went 8-for-24 with three RBIs in his last 10 games after having only three RBIs in his first 22.
"Hank got into a rut," Narron said. "He was using the same swing each time and not using the entire field. When he did get pitches, he was missing them."
Veteran infielder Herbert Perry will get a majority of the playing time at third base. Utility player Mike Lamb will also play third.
"Hank Blalock going out does not mean that he will not come back," Narron said. "I hope Hank Blalock comes back and he stays forever. There are a lot of good players who have been sent out."
Park, on the disabled list with a pulled right hamstring since April 2, is making his first start since April 1 in Oakland. He originally sustained the injury on March 27 in Spring Training and aggravated the hamstring during his Opening Day. In that start, Park gave up nine hits and six runs as he struggled through five innings in the 8-3 loss.
Outfielder Juan Gonzalez is scheduled to go to Port Charlotte, Fla., on Sunday to begin playing in extended Spring Training games. He has been sidelined with torn muscle fibers between his thumb and right index finger since April 11 and hopes to return to the starting lineup on Friday in Chicago.
"I need to see some live pitching," Gonzalez said. "Four or five days and I will be ready. I say Friday I will be back."
Jesse Sanchez covers the Rangers for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.