Blalock accepts assignment to Durham

Blalock accepts assignment to Durham

ST. PETERSBURG -- Hank Blalock did not sign with another Major League team Sunday, so he will accept his assignment to Triple-A Durham, affording the Rays some nice insurance for the season.

The Rays had to make a decision on whether to put Blalock on the 25-man roster by Friday night or risk him exercising the out-clause in his Minor League contract. Blalock then was allowed to explore Major League options with other clubs before heading to Durham.

"Mentally, I feel very positive," said Blalock on Friday night, after being informed that he had not made the 25-man roster, "regardless of the fact I was told I'm not going to be on the Opening Day roster. I'm staying focused and I'm going to keep playing baseball."

Earlier in the week, Blalock told reporters he had no intention of playing in the Minor Leagues this year, but he had a change of heart Friday.

"The reason that I would go and play in Durham, if no other team wants to pick me up right now, is because I love baseball and I'm going to continue to play and not going to do that would be quitting -- and that's not an option for me," said Blalock. "I've changed my mind about that."

Blalock, 29, missed much of the 2007 and '08 seasons due to injuries, but displayed power during his return to the Rangers in '09 when he hit .234 with 25 home runs and 66 RBIs while playing first base and designated hitter.

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