Blalock, Benoit make returns to Arlington

Blalock, Benoit make returns to Arlington

ARLINGTON -- Friday night's game was a homecoming of sorts for Hank Blalock and Joquin Benoit, who each spent eight years with the Rangers.

When asked what he felt like returning to Arlington in the visitors' dugout, Blalock quipped to a reporter: "Feels strange, like I'm in England driving on the wrong side of the road."

Both players were grateful for their years in Texas and enjoyed playing for the team.

"I have a lot of positive memories from my time in Texas," Blalock said.

Blalock also said "that's just how it goes" when talking about the Rangers electing to go another direction where he was concerned. "They had Chris Davis coming up who they wanted to go with at first base, moved [Michael Young] to third. I just kind of mixed and matched ... DH'd my last year and they decided to move on without me. I just kind of try to stay in the present. I'm on the Rays now and I'm in a great situation."

Blalock said players understand it's unlikely they'll spend their entire careers with one team.

"I think everyone thinks they're going to be that guy when they get drafted, though," Blalock said. "I made it a long time, 1999 to 2009, that's longer than a lot of people make it. I appreciate everything the Rangers did for me."

Benoit said, "I've got a lot of friends [in Texas]. ... I have good memories of [being in Texas]."

Benoit did not play Friday night, but Blalock did, and he did so with an added twist.

The former Ranger entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth and drove in a run when he hit into a fielder's choice. The surprise came when he did not leave the game and headed off to play right field, a position he had never played professionally.

Joe Maddon explained that Blalock had worked with outfield coach George Hendrick while in Toronto to the point where he told the Rays manager he felt comfortable in the outfield.

"After taking some balls off the bat in batting practice in Toronto, I got to a point where I was as ready as I was going to get," Blalock said. "The only way to get comfortable is to play there in the game."

Blalock did not have any balls hit in his direction.

Quipped Maddon: "It's funny. Every ball is going to be hit there or none. I thought he looked really good out there actually."