Blalock's rehab hits a snag

Blalock's rehab hits a snag

ST. PETERSBURG -- Hank Blalock, who has already been hurt and rehabbed back in extended Spring Training, may be forced back into familiar territory.

The Rangers first baseman, who was diagnosed on Friday with carpal tunnel syndrome, has not seen any change in the inflamed nerves on his right hand, and is still struggling with the injury.

Manager Ron Washington confirmed that Blalock will see team physician Keith Meister in Texas on Tuesday, and the club is hopeful for a more specific timetable on the infielder.

Blalock was originally placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 29 (retroactive to April 26) with a slight left hamstring tear, and following a successful extended Spring Training outing on May 21, was expected to be activated for the Cleveland series starting May 23.

Instead, the right wrist ailment has forced a kink into the Rangers' plans, as Blalock is expected to miss another three-game set in Tampa Bay.

While it is unfortunate news for Blalock, who was hampered by injuries last year and missed half of the season, it has been a welcome reprieve for Chris Shelton. Shelton, who made his seventh consecutive start on Monday, is likely to be the odd man out when Blalock makes his return.

That return won't necessarily be when things are ho-hum with Blalock's wrist, as the club may opt to dole out a precautionary rehab assignment for Blalock.

The first baseman has not swung a bat since the injury, and Washington agreed that Blalock may need a light workload before coming back to the Major Leagues.

"For me he does [need a couple games]," Washington said. "But I haven't had a chance to discuss that with Hank. That's just me. Right now the only thing we are concerned about is getting it where he can play."

The skipper also noted that the club won't make any definite decisions until Blalock's wrist is deemed serviceable.

Prior to Blalock's pair of injuries, the infielder was batting .299 and had seven RBIs in 22 games. In his place, Shelton has done an admirable job, collecting seven RBIs and batting .241 in 20 games.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.