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Blalock, Young in lineup despite flu

Blalock, Young in lineup despite flu

SEATTLE -- The flu bug moved to the left side of the Rangers infield on Tuesday.

Third baseman Hank Blalock and shortstop Michael Young were hit with the same bug that second baseman Ian Kinsler had to battle on Opening Day. But both were in the starting lineup Tuesday against Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez.

"I've got a little bit of the flu, but I'm going to play anyway," Blalock said. "It's no big deal."

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A "little bit of the flu" included running a temperature of 104 degrees. Young and Blalock went through two bags of IV solutions and other treatment and were feeling good enough a couple of hours before the game to tell manager Ron Washington they could play.

The cold weather here in the Pacific Northwest hasn't helped matters much. Game-time temperature on Opening Day was 50 degrees and Tuesday's night game was expected to be colder. But getting Young out of the lineup isn't easy. He has missed just 13 games over the past five years.

"We've played in cold weather before, so it's not that big of a deal," Young said. "I think [the Mariners] clubhouse got it too, and now they're over it. I guess it's going through our clubhouse now. That's part of playing in the big leagues."

Kinsler woke up on Monday morning with the flu and wasn't expected to play in the opener. But he went ahead and played, going 1-for-5 in the Rangers' 5-2 loss to the Mariners. Kinsler said he was miserable before Monday's game but said he was fine once the game started.

"That's when the adrenaline takes over," Kinsler said. "You just have to pace yourself. Those guys are good enough where they don't need batting practice or to take ground balls. They just need to get ready for the game and they'll be all right."

The Rangers had utility infielder Ramon Vazquez ready to play for Kinsler on Monday, and he could have filled in for either Blalock or Young on Tuesday. But the Rangers would have been hurting if both were too sick to play. Most likely, Frank Catalanotto would have had to play third base for the first time since 2001. Backup catcher Adam Melhuse also has played there sparingly.

"I guess it's something you can't do anything about," Washington said. "You just make adjustments if you have to. We'll show up, play nine innings and see what happens."

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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