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Washington may rest slumping Blalock

Washington may rest slumping Blalock

ARLINGTON -- Hank Blalock started for the 40th straight game at first base on Thursday night. He may not get to 41.

Manager Ron Washington is considering giving him a day off on Friday night with left-hander Scott Kazmir on the mound for the Rays. Andruw Jones would start instead if Washington indeed decides to do that.

"I'll see how I feel tonight and tomorrow, when I start messing around with the lineup," Washington said before Thursday's game with the Twins.

Blalock appears to be ready for a night off. He went into Thursday night's game hitting .164 with three home runs and seven RBIs in 18 games and 73 at-bats for month of August. He hit .290 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 25 games and 100 at-bats in July. His slugging percentage has gone from .530 in July to .356 in August.

Something is not right. He hit .262 with three home runs and six RBIs on a 10-game road trip, then returned home and had just one hit in his first 23 at-bats on the homestand going into Thursday's game.

"I felt I swung the bat well on the road trip," Blalock said. "But I came home and I just haven't been able to get hits or have at-bats that I was satisfied with. In those Boston games I left some runners on base but we still won. But the last couple of games I felt I could have done more to help this team win."

Washington said Blalock could be dealing with some mental fatigue. He is the only first baseman the Rangers have used since Chris Davis was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on July 5.

"If I did decide to give him a day off, it would probably help him," Washington said. "He could be physically tired and it's affecting him offensively. He has battled, he hasn't let up and he hasn't let it affect his defense."

Blalock, going into Thursday night, has played 101 games and had 388 at-bats. Injuries limited him to 65 games and 258 at-bats in 2008, and 58 games and 208 at-bats in 2007. He also started the season as the Rangers designated hitter, so it has been a long time since he played regularly like he has the past six weeks.

"That's just an adjustment I have to make," Blalock said. "It's no excuse to have a bad game just because you're playing the field every day. I'm not a guy who uses that excuse or wants a day off. I want to play there every day. I've just had a bad homestand, that's all."

It may seem like a good idea to give Blalock a day off on Friday with a left-hander on the mound, especially considering Blalock is 1-for-8 in his career against Kazmir. But he has been hitting left-handers much better lately than right-handers.

Since July 24, Blalock is 12-for-34 (.353) against left-handed pitchers and 8-for-72 (.111) against right-handers.

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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