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Blalock to be in lineup vs. right-handers

Blalock to be in lineup vs. right-handers

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said he likes Hank Blalock's veteran presence in the lineup.

"I wish he would like it more often," Blalock said.

That could be the case this week. Blalock was back in the lineup for a second straight day on Sunday, one day after his sixth-inning home run gave the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Angels. Blalock played first base while Chris Davis was at third base.

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Washington said he is going to stay with that arrangement for a few days. The Rangers, who faced righty John Lackey on Sunday, face three right-handers in the first three games of a four-game series with the Athletics that starts on Monday in Oakland.

Washington said Blalock will continue to start against right-handers. The Rangers aren't scheduled to face a left-hander until Oakland pitches Brett Anderson on Thursday. Blalock figures to be in the lineup at least until then.

"Who knows, he might play against everybody," Washington said. "But I know he'll get those right-handers."

Blalock hasn't played much since the Rangers recalled Davis on Aug. 25 and put him back at first base. Blalock played first for six weeks while Davis was in the Minor Leagues, but found himself on the bench when Davis came back. Blaylock had started just three games since Aug. 25 before Saturday night.

Washington decided to go with Blalock on Saturday after his team had been shut out four times in five days, and the decision paid off. So Blalock was back in the lineup on Sunday.

"You watch those kids go out there and play their hearts out and it's not happening, and you've got an experienced bat on the bench," Washington said. "I just decided to get Hank back in there. I didn't want to move Chris to third base, but that was the only option I had."

Washington could have used Blalock at designated hitter, but that would have meant taking Julio Borbon out of the lineup.

"That's not going to happen," Washington said.

So Blalock, who is third on the team with 24 home runs, gets a chance to showcase himself with the Rangers before becoming a free agent at the end of the season.

"It's not up to me who's in the lineup," Blalock said. "All I know is when I'm in the lineup, I'm going to go out there and give it my best effort."

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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