Hank Blalock back on the market after release from Rays

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Tampa Bay released Hank Blalock today after designated him for assignment last week.
Blalock earned a shot with the Rays by signing a minor-league deal this spring and hitting .349 in 26 games at Triple-A, but then hit just .254/.319/.349 in 69 plate appearances before they smartly ditched him in favor of Matt Joyce.
Blalock is just one season removed from smacking 25 homers, but was actually a well below average hitter in 2009 despite the good power and will likely have to settle for another minor-league at this point even though he’s still only 29 years old.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.