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Adam Dunn, Hank Blalock draw interest of Angels

Washington indicates it would be hard to part with first baseman, who appears to be at or near the top of Angels' list ahead of trade deadline. Corner infielder was designated for assignment by Texas.

June 30, 2010|By Mike DiGiovanna

The Angels have some interest in corner infielder Hank Blalock, who was designated for assignment Tuesday by the Tampa Bay Rays, but the veteran is not near the top of the team's target list with a month to go before the July 31 trade deadline.

"We're not limiting our options," General Manager Tony Reagins said Wednesday afternoon. "There are opportunities to get better, and we're exploring all of them."

Washington first baseman Adam Dunn, who is batting .271 with 17 home runs and 47 runs batted in, appears to be at or near the top of the Angels' wish list.

But Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN Radio in Chicago on Wednesday that, "For us to move [Dunn] will be very painful, and it will probably be very painful for the team that wants to acquire him."

Dunn is not the slickest of defenders, but he would fill a need for a left-handed power bat. Among the other possible trade targets are Arizona first baseman Adam LaRoche, Houston first baseman Lance Berkman and Baltimore corner infielder Ty Wigginton.

The left-handed-hitting Blalock, 29, hit .254 with one homer and seven RBIs in 63 at-bats for the Rays but is only one season removed from hitting .234 with 25 homers and 66 RBIs in 495 at-bats for the Rangers in 2009.

Blalock makes $925,000 this season, but if he clears waivers, he could be acquired for the rest of 2010 for about $200,000.

Considering what it would cost in prospects to upgrade to a player such as Dunn at first, the Angels may choose to stick with their no-cost replacement, current first baseman Mike Napoli, who entered Wednesday with a .251 average, 14 homers and 32 RBIs.

"Nap is doing an adequate job, so there's no real rush to replace him or move him off the position," Reagins said of the converted catcher, who replaced the injured Kendry Morales in early June. "The more he plays there, the more comfortable he's going to get."

Third base, which is being shared by Kevin Frandsen and Brandon Wood until Maicer Izturis returns from the disabled list, seems an easier target to upgrade.

"But it's always difficult to acquire a productive third baseman, because there aren't a lot of them out there," Reagins said. "We're going to look to improve any way we can."

Risky business

The Angels were relieved that shortstop Erick Aybar didn't suffer a serious neck injury when he crashed head-first into the left knee of Texas catcher Matt Treanor to score in the first inning Tuesday.

Aybar was trying to perform a feet-first, hook slide into home, but when Treanor leaped toward the inside of the third-base line for a high throw, he went right into Aybar's path.

"At home, you always go feet first, always," bench coach Ron Roenicke said. "If the catcher is planted and you go in head-first, you're going to break something. It's a good thing the catcher was in the air. If he was planted, Erick would have been in trouble."

On the mend

Reliever Brian Stokes, placed on the disabled list because of shoulder fatigue May 11 and shut down because of a tear in the back of his right shoulder three weeks ago, is expected to resume his throwing program after being examined by a doctor Thursday.

"I feel good right now — I just need to build up all the muscles around the shoulder," said Stokes, who has a 7.31 earned-run average in 15 games. "Then I need to build back up to being game-ready."

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