Blalock frustrated by setback in return, Hamilton rests knee for Rangers

HOUSTON -- Hank Blalock's return to the Texas Rangers is uncertain after the soon-to-be first baseman had a setback in his rehabilitation following carpal tunnel surgery.

Blalock, a former All-Star third baseman, is scheduled to switch to first when he returns to the Rangers. He was supposed to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, but injured his right hand diving for a ball Sunday with Triple-A Oklahoma.

Star slugger Josh Hamilton and fellow outfielder Milton Bradley were both out of the lineup Wednesday night against Houston. Rangers manager Ron Washington said Hamilton needed a couple of days off after leaving Tuesday's game with knee inflammation.

Bradley, who pinch hit on Tuesday, is expected to return to the lineup Thursday after not starting since straining his left quadriceps June 17.

Washington said both players could be used to pinch hit on Wednesday and the pair could also be used on defense in an emergency.

Blalock has severe swelling in his right hand and arrived in Houston before Wednesday's game to receive treatment. He is frustrated that his recovery from surgery on May 30 has stretched into almost a month after a doctor told him it should take 7-10 days.

"Obviously, my hand wasn't healed and I shouldn't have been out there playing yet," he said. "In my mind if I'm told 7-10 days, after two or three weeks I'm going to play regardless."

He was examined by a doctor in Oklahoma who told him to keep his hand elevated above his head when possible and that he shouldn't do anything for a week.

"That makes me confused about the whole seven days thing," he said. "I just wish someone would tell me what kind of time frame I'm looking at so I can stop pushing myself to go on rehab assignments before I should."

Blalock said he is unable to put weight on his hand and can't hold a bat. He's hoping to see another doctor who can tell him why he is still struggling with the injury when the team returns to Arlington.

"I don't think there's anything he can do about what happened," Washington said. "He has every right to be frustrated because he's a competitor. We want him here as bad as he wants to be here. We don't want him to be frustrated. We want him to get healthy."

Washington said the team would try to schedule another rehabilitation assignment for Blalock when the swelling and pain subsides.

"As soon as he's able to deal with a little bit of discomfort, he's ready to go," Washington said. "He'll work through it. If the doctor gives you a period and it doesn't work in that period, you've just got to go a little longer."

Blalock was hitting .299 with three homers and seven RBIs before his injury.

He was first put on the 15-day disabled list April 29 with a torn left hamstring. After recovering from that injury, the problems with his wrist began.