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04/13/09 8:36 PM ET

Blalock's pain is Davis' gain

Scheduled for day off, first baseman instead in the lineup

ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington said last week he would rest first baseman Chris Davis when he felt like he needed a day off.

Well, that day was supposed to come Monday.

Davis, who has one hit in his first 22 at-bats of the season, wasn't scheduled to be at first base to start Monday's three-game series against Baltimore, even with right-handed pitcher Koji Uehara starting for the Orioles. Hank Blalock was supposed to get his first start of the year at first.

But Blalock was scratched with neck stiffness about 30 minutes before Monday's game, and Davis was back in there for his seventh straight game to start the season.

Davis is hitless in his last 17 at-bats and already has a team-high 10 strikeouts. The 23-year-old, in his first full Major League season, had reached a point where he needed to watch for a game, Washington said.

"It's a feeling I have," Washington said before Monday's game. "He needs a break."

Davis took early batting practice with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo looking on. Davis isn't too concerned with his slow start.

"Timing," Davis said.

Washington said Davis' struggles boil down to him being "just a little late."

"They're throwing him fastballs," Washington said. "He crushes fastballs."

Washington made a few other changes to his regular lineup, but not because the Rangers had lost three straight games entering Monday.

Taylor Teagarden started at catcher, but it was a scheduled start in place of starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

"It's Salty's day off," Washington said. "I can't just have Teagarden over there sitting all the time."

Washington said he went with experience with Monday's lineup after the top three of Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Josh Hamilton.

That had Andruw Jones batting cleanup and Marlon Byrd, off to a strong start with a .308 batting average, batting fifth and back in left field.

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.