ARLINGTON -- If there's a clubhouse pool on the date that Hank Blalock will return from the disabled list, Blalock himself probably isn't faring well in it. The Rangers third baseman acknowledged on Friday he was growing tired of predicting when he'd be back, and said he hoped to return July 7 against the Angels. But before the day was over, his prediction was already derailed.
"I went and took some easy swings and it was about as sore as it was my second game in Oklahoma, which was pretty sore," Blalock said of his right wrist, which has kept him sidelined since April 26.
In Blalock's second game during his medical rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma on June 22, he jammed his right hand diving for a ground ball, causing his hand to swell up. Blalock was hoping Friday would be the beginning of his next attempt to get back on the field. Instead, it convinced him that he needs to take it easy until his hand fully heals. "I've been pushing myself the whole time I've been injured, but my doctor told me by doing that, I'm not letting it heal. I have to be patient and let it heal this time," he said. Blalock's plan as of Saturday is to steer clear of bats and gloves for the next week and just focus on conditioning to allow his hand to heal. If his doctor gives him the go-ahead at week's end, he will he resume baseball-related activities. Manager Ron Washington knows this is the only way to keep Blalock from pushing himself too hard. "We need the injury to subside and the doctor said, for it to subside, he has to shut it down for a week, so we're going to shut him down," Washington said. "We have to tell him to do nothing because if we don't, he'll push himself." As frustrating as this process has been for Blalock, the competitor in him has him circling yet another date as his target to return to action. He now hopes to go on another rehab assignment during the All-Star break so he can return to the Rangers in the team's first game back from the break against the Twins on July 18. "I would hope to rehab during the break and come back right after," Blalock said.
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.