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Notes: Blalock done at third for season

Notes: Blalock done at third for season

ARLINGTON -- Hank Blalock is not going to play third base again this season.

Blalock finally admitted the obvious on Monday, while still maintaining optimism that his arm will be stronger than ever in 2008.

Blalock had been hoping to play third base before the season is over, but is still feeling some inflammation in his flexor tendon muscle in his right elbow.

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"If I did play, it would be the last game of the season and it wouldn't be worth it," Blalock said before Monday's game with the Angels. "I'd rather get all the pain and discomfort out and go into the offseason knowing my elbow is fine, and then come back strong in Spring Training."

Blalock has not played third base since undergoing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in his right shoulder in May. He was activated off the disabled list on Sept. 1, but has been limited to designated hitter duties since then.

He worked extensively with manager Ron Washington on his defense while he was sidelined, but developed the inflammation in the elbow while still recovering from shoulder surgery.

That's kept him from playing third base, although Blalock was holding out hope until this week.

"It's no big deal," Washington said. "He's going to be healthy and we'll monitor his progress over the winter. All this stuff he's experiencing will be in the past when he comes to Spring Training. It's not like it's going to be career-threatening."

Blalock normally takes time off when the season is over, but said he is going to keep his throwing program all through the offseason.

"I'll probably throw three times a week in October and November, then four times a week and then every day for six weeks leading up to Spring Training," Blalock said. "Hopefully, that will get me to the point were my arm will be strong all year long."

No progress on Jaramillo: Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo remains the only coach who is not signed for next year -- and it's unlikely that the Rangers will get anything done with him before the end of the season.

Jaramillo's current three-year contract expires at the end of the season and he has hired an agent to represent him in talks with the Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. It's likely that Jaramillo will at least consider other opportunities once his contract expires.

"I know they're talking," Washington said. "We've got to wait and see if they come to terms. I said I wanted him back so my part is over. It's up to Rudy, his agent, J.D. and Mr. Hicks."

Length of contract could be an obstacle. Jaramillo, who has a reputation for being one of the top hitting coaches in the game, has been working on three-year contracts. Another three-year deal would sign him through 2010, while Washington and Daniels are only signed through 2009. Jaramillo has been the Rangers hitting coach since 1995.

McCarthy hopes for one more start: Brandon McCarthy, sidelined with inflammation in his right forearm/elbow, will not pitch on Tuesday, but is still hoping to pitch on Sunday in Seattle.

"Right now that's the plan," McCarthy said. "As the week goes on, we'll see how it feels. If this was a pennant race, I could throw with it. We're just being very cautious and not doing anything crazy."

If McCarthy doesn't pitch, Vicente Padilla could get that start. His seven-game suspension ends on Wednesday.

Feldman headed for IL: The Instructional League started in Surprise, Ariz., on Monday. Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman expects to join the fun when the season is over.

Feldman is sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee and probably won't pitch again this season. But he is planning on going to the Instructional League to continue working on a new delivery. Feldman was a side-arm pitcher, but the Rangers have him throwing from a three-quarters motion. It's showing signs of being more effective.

"It's making all my pitches better and it gives me an additional pitch," Feldman said. "I'm throwing my [fastball] totally different than my [sinker], and I'm throwing harder. Nothing but good stuff can come out of it."

He said it: "I think Hank would go crazy being a full-time DH. He'd drive me crazy and he'd go crazy."
--Washington, on Blalock's temporary assignment

Briefly: Jarrod Saltalamacchia was planning to go to the Instructional League to work on his catching, but is holding off on those plans. ... The Rangers went into the final week leading the American League in both double plays and errors.

Up next: Southpaw A.J. Murray pitches for the Rangers against the Angels at 7:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Right-hander Dustin Moseley is pitching for the Angels.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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