Hank Blalock tells Rays he won't accept minors assignment

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Hank Blalock said today that he plans to exercise the opt-out clause in his minor-league contract with the Rays if he’s not added to the 25-man roster by tomorrow:

I don’t have any plans on playing minor-league baseball this year. At this time in my life, if there’s no major-league opportunities for me then I’ll find something else to do. I feel like the team has to make a decision with me. I love it here. I like the way I’ve been treated, I like my teammates, I like the staff. I’d like to be part of helping the Rays win the World Series. I hope they keep me. This is where I want to stay.

If he makes the team Blalock would likely platoon with Pat Burrell at designated hitter, but with outfielder Matt Joyce expected to begin the season on the disabled list Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays may choose to keep the younger, more versatile Reid Brignac as their final bench player.
Blalock had 25 homers in 462 at-bats last season, but hit a career-worst .234 with a putrid .277 on-base percentage and 108/26 K/BB ratio, missed most of 2007 and 2008 with injuries, and may no longer be able to play third base regularly thanks to shoulder problems. In other words there are good reasons for why he managed only a minor-league deal, although the contract would pay $900,000 if he makes the team.

It’s pouring in Washington before the All-Star Game

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Some heavy weather moved through Washington D.C. late this afternoon, flooding dugouts at Nationals Park and sending waterfalls over the ledges of the upper decks. All a few hours before the All-Star Game.

The good news, though, is that the rains are moving out and it’s expected to be dry at game time. More good news, modern fields drain frighteningly fast, so the conditions will probably be A-OK for the game to go off on time. Indeed, a similar thing happened in Cincinnati before the 2015 All-Star Game — it was a dang monsoon — and you wouldn’t even know it by game time.

In the even things continue to be soggy and they have to postpone the game, it’ll be played tomorrow night. All signs at present, however, point to the Midsummer Classic going off as planned.

Here are some images from Washington’s monsoon:

And this, a hop, skip and a jump away from the ballpark: