2:31pm: Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman confirmed the promotion of Blalock in a blog post by Topkin.
Friedman insists that the move has nothing to do with Blalock's contract situation and potential opt-out clause. The club, he says, talked during Spring Training about re-evaluating things at this point in the season.
He added that Dan Johnson, currently in Triple-A Durham, was also considered for promotion. The 30-year-old has been posting even stronger numbers than Blalock, hitting .311/.382/.647 with 11 HRs.
10:52am: The team has yet to confirm the move, but it appears that Hank Blalock will join the Rays for today's game against the Mariners according to Heath Baywood at DRaysBay. Marc Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times backs up the report.
Earlier this week Scott Boras indicated that Blalock would exercise the opt-out clause in his contract if he wasn't called up within a week. The two-time All Star hit .349/.405/.505 with Tampa's Triple-A affiliate, though oddly enough he hit lefties better than righties. That could easily be a function of limited at-bats, however.
Tampa Bay has two open spots on it's 40-man roster, but they will need to clear a 25-man roster spot for Blalock. Topkin says that it remains to be seen if this is the end of the Pat Burrell era, even though he's hitting just .202/.292/.333 this year. Either way, the Rays are the hook for his $9MM salary this season.