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08/25/09 6:01 PM ET
Davis recalled as Andruw heads to DL
Move sends Blalock to bench with first base occupied
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- First baseman Chris Davis was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma by the Rangers on Tuesday, a move that sent Andruw Jones to the disabled list with a torn left hamstring and Hank Blalock to the bench. Blalock had been playing regularly at first base since Davis was sent to the Minors on July 5, but was hitting .163 (7-for-43) in his past 11 games and .190 in his past 30 games. He has three walks and 43 strikeouts in his past 38 games. He was told in a meeting with manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels before Tuesday's game with the Yankees that he would be on the bench. "This is a situation where the organization has made a decision," Blalock said. "They think we have a better chance to win with other guys in the lineup; as a player, I have to deal with it." Blalock, who is a free agent after the season and is quite possibly seeing his time with the Rangers come to an end, is hitting .238 with 23 home runs and 67 RBIs. He has a .274 on-base percentage and a .473 slugging percentage. "As far as the year has gone, I'm not swinging the bat the way I want to," Blalock said. "Hitting .240-.250 is not acceptable to me. I'm not driving in runs the way I should be. I had the mind-set that, even though I was struggling lately, there is still a month left in the season and I had the opportunity to finish strong. Now that opportunity is not there. "Over the course of my career, I've been in difficult situations. It's how you handle them. I've been told I'm coming off the bench, I'm going to try and keep a positive attitude and help this team make the playoffs." Jones has been bothered by a torn left hamstring for several weeks and apparently aggravated it on Sunday vs. Tampa Bay. That prompted the Rangers to put him on the disabled list. "It's bad," said Jones, who was hitting .151 (8-for-53) in his past 16 games and .189 in his past 59 games. "We felt it was better to have some time off now, and get him ready for the stretch run," general manager Jon Daniels. Jones was the Rangers' right-handed designated hitter. That job could go to Ivan Rodriguez, who started at catcher on Tuesday. Washington said he plans on starting Rodriguez at designated hitter on Wednesday against Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte. Davis will play regularly at first base after hitting .327 (54-165) with six home runs, 12 doubles, and 30 RBIs in 44 games for Oklahoma City. He had a .418 on-base percentage, a .521 slugging percentage and was hitting .356 with runners in scoring position. "He's staying inside the ball and using all fields," Washington said. "He's not trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark. And we all know how impeccable his defense is. We felt he was ready to come back." Davis said he has made a couple of adjustments in his batting stance. He is not standing quite as straight up and he is more open with his body toward the pitcher. Davis said the slight adjustments have helped keep his head steady during the at-bat and recognize pitches better. "I don't think it was anything drastic," Davis said. "But I'm seeing pitches better, and I'm laying off pitches out of the strike zone. Before, I was just setting up myself for failure." Davis was hitting .202 with 15 home runs and 33 RBIs in 77 games and 258 at-bats when he was sent down. He also led the Major Leagues with 114 strikeouts. Even after being gone for six weeks, he is still eighth in the league in strikeouts going into Tuesday's game. "Everybody knows how my mental state was," Davis said. "I was constantly frustrated. I was constantly beating myself up. I feel comfortable right now. I feel good. I feel ready to get back to my old self. I'm still an aggressive hitter, but I'm able to recognize pitches and lay off bad pitches."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.