Notes: Blalock ready to get back in fire
Slugger activated from DL, will start at DH in Sunday's finale
ANAHEIM -- Hank Blalock is returning to the Rangers lineup.Blalock was activated off the disabled list on Saturday and manager Ron Washington said he is planning on using him as the designated hitter on Sunday against Angels right-hander John Lackey. "He's ready to get into the fire," Washington said. "Hank is a proven commodity. Hank is going to be fine. He just needs to get at-bats." Blalock underwent surgery in May to have a rib removed from under his right shoulder that was causing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. That simply means the rib was causing pain by putting pressure on the nerves. He has not played in a game since May 16 and was hitting .285 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 39 games and 144 at-bats. With the Minor League season coming to an end, Blalock was never sent out on a medical rehabilitation assignment. "I'm not worried about my hitting," Blalock said. "I've been ready to hit for the past five weeks." The Rangers aren't sure when Blalock will be ready to play in the field. He is still building up arm strength and is still not completely confident about making all the different throws from third base. He is hoping to be ready by the next road trip that starts on Sept. 11 and Washington said he's confident that Blalock will be ready at some point before the season is over. "The only way he doesn't go out there is if he doesn't trust his arm," Washington said. "But I think he'll get out there." Streak continues: The Rangers were 3-for-3 in stolen bases on Friday night, running their streak to 24 consecutive attempts without getting caught. The Rangers went into Saturday's game 75-for-92, an 81.5 percent success rate that was the highest in the American League. It's also the second highest in club history. The Rangers were 67-for-82 (81.7 percent) in 2005 and also led the league that year as well. Second baseman Ian Kinsler was 17-for-17 on the season heading into Saturday's game and credited first base coach Gary Pettis for much of his success. "He has helped me with situations on when to run and knowing the pitcher," Kinsler said. "A lot of pitchers have different moves and if you can get to know those moves, it lets you know when to run." Kinsler was finally thrown out trying to steal second in the first inning by Angels catcher Jeff Mathis. Gunning for 200: As the schedule moves into September, individual accomplishments move into focus. A prominent milestone for the Rangers is Michael Young's bid for a fifth consecutive 200-hit season. Only five players since 1900 have recorded at least five straight seasons with 200 hits: Wade Boggs, Ichiro Suzuki, Chuck Klein, Charlie Gehringer and Al Simmons. "I'm looking to close out with a great month of September," Young said. "I want to finish the year opposite of the way I started. If I do that, the numbers will fall in line. But I don't play for numbers. I play to make sure the effort is there and to win. Those are the two things I play for. "But I'm not going to lie to you ... I'd love to get 200 hits every year of my career." Young went into Saturday's game needing 37 hits in the Rangers' final 28 games to reach 200. Catalanotto enjoys hot August: Frank Catalanotto finished August hitting .406 for the month, the highest in the American League. It's the third time in his career that he has led the American League in hitting in August. He did so in 2001 and 2003. But he started September out of the lineup. He pinch-hit on Friday night but was out of the lineup on Saturday with a strained groin muscle. He said he expects to start on Sunday. "It's a bad time for me to get hurt," Catalanotto said. "That's why I want to get back in there, but I want to be smart. If I blow it out I'm done for the season." McCarthy has shot: Brandon McCarthy said he had a cortisone shot earlier this week and he's waiting for that to settle down the discomfort in his right arm before he resumes his throwing program. McCarthy was hoping to do that on Saturday, but will wait until Sunday. "He'll need three or four days on flat ground and then go up on a mound," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "Then we'll get him a couple of bullpen [throwing] sessions and a simulated game for a couple of innings. If he comes out of that fine then we'll get him into a game." He said it: "Does that say Blalock or secret weapon? It's secret weapon." -- Blalock, seeing his name on the lineup card for the first time in over a month. Friday's Minor Stars:
Gold: Nate Gold went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and three RBI in Triple-A Oklahoma's 12-7 loss to Albuquerque. He is hitting .435 in his last six games. Silver: Derek Holland threw five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out six in Class A Spokane's 4-1 victory over Boise. Bronze: Clinton infielder Jose Vallejo had two more hits and his 45th stolen base of the season in Class A Clinton's 4-1 loss to Wisconsin. Briefly: FOX has decided not to broadcast the Rangers game with the Oakland Athletics on Sept. 15 in Oakland. The game, scheduled for 2:55 p.m. (CT) will not be broadcast back to Texas. ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia announced the Rangers lineup on Saturday's FOX telecast. Then he went back into the clubhouse and announced, "Sorry guys I forgot all your names. I've only been here a month." ... Jason Botts batted eighth on Saturday and Washington said that's because he wanted to get Brad Wilkerson higher in the order. ... Saltalamacchia batted ninth even though he was hitting .406 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his last eight games. Up next: Left-hander Kason Gabbard pitches against right-hander Lackey in the final game of the three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at 5:05 p.m. CT on Sunday at Angel Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.