Carpal tunnel delays Blalock's return

Carpal tunnel delays Blalock's return

CLEVELAND -- Hank Blalock has carpal tunnel syndrome, one year and two days after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

"I feel like I lead the league in syndromes," Blalock said Friday after rejoining the Rangers in Cleveland.

The CT is causing pain and numbness in his right wrist and keeping him from being activated off the disabled list. Blalock has been sidelined for a month with a partial tear of his right hamstring muscle, and CT will keep him out a few more days.

It's something that just started bothering him in the last few days while he has been working out in extended Spring Training in Arizona. He told trainer Jamie Reed about it when he arrived in Cleveland, and the Rangers have decided against activating him.

"We'll just have to wait it out," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I'm glad he was honest. If we had made a [roster] move before we had known, we would have been in trouble."

The Rangers medical staff told Blalock that the best-case scenario is the condition could clear up in the next 24-48 hours.

"I was able to play with it the last few days in Arizona and I wasn't going to say anything," Blalock said. "But it's an issue. The last four nights I woke up with numbness in my right wrist and pain in my right hand. It's depressing because I want to play baseball. My leg feels great and I feel comfortable at first base. It stinks."

Blalock was supposed to be activated on Friday to play first base. The Rangers are already without Frank Catalanotto, who was sidelined for the third straight day with tightness in his back.

That left Chris Shelton to start at first base for the fourth straight game, including three straight with a right-hander on the mound. Catalanotto, who normally starts against right-handers, is available as a pinch-hitter. He should get three more days off after Friday because the Rangers are scheduled to face left-handers Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia in Cleveland and Scott Kazmir on Monday against the Rays.

"That might be a blessing in disguise, giving me three extra days," Catalanotto said. "It started Monday on the turf in Minnesota but it's getting better every single day. I should be able to play in the next couple of days."

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