UPDATE: Hank Blalock, Rays in serious talks

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blalock headshot.JPGUPDATE: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times confirms that the Rays and Blalock are sorting out a minor league contract, though Topkin adds that “Nothing is done yet.”

SATURDAY, 10:22pm: We’re well into the month of March, and yet free agent first baseman Hank Blalock remains unsigned.  That could change soon.

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Rays are in “serious talks” with Blalock.  The 29-year-old posted an ugly .234/.277/.459 batting line last season, but still managed to smack 25 home runs.  He would be a nice addition to Tampa Bay’s DH mix, which currently includes Pat Burrell and Willy Aybar.  He could also provide insurance at first base behind Carlos Pena, who underwent surgery late last season for two broken fingers.

Blalock was reportedly offered a minor league contract from the Marlins several weeks ago.

Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young dies at 51

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Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young died on Tuesday at the age of 51, the team said. Young was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in February.

Young, 51, pitched parts of six seasons in the majors from 1991-96. He began his big league career with the Mets in 1991 and stayed with the team through ’93. He famously failed to win a game between April 24, 1992 and July 24, 1993. During that span of time, he went 0-27. It was a great example, even back then, of the uselessness of won-lost records. Young posted a respectable 4.17 ERA in ’92 and 3.77 in ’93.

Former pitcher Turk Wendell, who was Young’s teammate with the Cubs in 1994-95, called Young “a true gentleman.”

Blue Jays designate Jason Grilli for assignment

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The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that the club designated reliever Jason Grilli for assignment as part of a handful of roster moves. Outfielder Dwight Smith was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was activated from the 10-day disabled list, and pitcher Chris Smith was recalled from Buffalo as well.

Grilli, 40, struggled to a 6.97 ERA with a 23/9 K/BB ratio in 20 2/3 innings of work this season in Toronto. The right-hander similarly struggled in the first half last year with the Braves before being acquired by the Jays but Grilli’s role had diminished and most of the rest of the bullpen has been pulling its weight.

Grilli should draw some interest — perhaps from the Nationals — as his peripheral stats suggest he’s not nearly as bad as his ERA suggests.