Blalock frustrated by latest setback

Blalock frustrated by latest setback

HOUSTON -- Hank Blalock is not going to return to the Rangers' lineup anytime soon.

The Rangers expect him back by the All-Star break, but Blalock still has pain and swelling in his right hand and is quite frustrated about the latest setback that is prolonging his time on the disabled list.

Blalock jammed his right hand diving for a ground ball on Sunday night while playing on medical rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Oklahoma. It was the second of what was supposed to be a three-game assignment. But the hand is still too painful for Blalock to play in a game and he's basically in limbo right now.

"All I can do is more treatment," Blalock said. "I can't swing a bat, let alone hit. I can't close my fist. It's swollen. My hand is not healed. I can't play until my hand is healed."

Blalock has been on the disabled list since April 26. He originally went down with a partially torn hamstring muscle, but that's no longer the issue. Blalock developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in his right wrist while on a rehab assignment and underwent surgery on May 30. The surgery was performed by Dr. Tom Diliberti in Dallas.

At the time, the Rangers said Blalock would need seven to 10 days to heal in the incision in his hand where the surgery would take place and then be able to resume baseball activities. The Rangers also said that Blalock would probably miss three to four weeks.

Blalock began his medical rehabilitation assignment on Saturday at Oklahoma, just more than three weeks since undergoing surgery. The Rangers were hoping he would play three games, everything would go well and he would be activated Tuesday in Houston. That plan was scratched when Blalock re-injured the hand diving for the ground ball.

Blalock is frustrated because he doesn't believe the hand was ready to resume playing baseball. He said he should have waited longer but was led to believe he would be fine.

"Diving for one ground ball shouldn't do this," Blalock said. "I just wish somebody would tell me what the right time frame is so I don't push myself to go on a rehab assignment. If someone says I'm going to be out until the All-Star Game, that's fine. I can chill out and take my time rather than push myself.

"But they told me it would take seven to 10 days and then I could be ready again. Now, three-and-a-half weeks later, the hand still isn't healed. Sometimes I wish people would tell me what I'm looking at rather than something that's unrealistic."

Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine met with Blalock before Wednesday's game to discuss his situation.

"When he was cleared to play, the symptoms he had surgery for had been alleviated," Levine said. "It's unfortunate that this happened and he's frustrated. We don't think anything was done improperly by the doctor. He had been cleared to play."

Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers will monitor Blalock on a day-to-day basis and just wait and see when he's ready to play again. The best-case scenario is Blalock getting treatment for the next five days or so and then resuming his rehab assignment in Oklahoma.

But timetables have been useless so far since Blalock has been on the disabled list.

"He has a right to be frustrated because he's a competitor," Washington said. "We want him to be here. We want him to be fine. We want him to be Hank. If it takes extra days, we'll take them. Hank's frustrated because he wants to compete. He needs to get the swelling subsided to the point where he can handle it and he'll work through it."

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