SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Lance Berkman is well aware that his batting average this spring doesn’t look great. But he is quick to point out that his .167 average through his first 10 Cactus League games and 24 at-bats don’t tell the whole story.Berkman has drawn eight walks, boasts a .364 on-base percentage and has come through with runners in scoring position.“I feel like I’m seeing the ball well, having good swings and my contact has been hard,” Berkman said. “To me, the feeling that I have at the plate is way more important than the results right now. The results will come. If I wasn’t feeling good at the plate or felt something was off, it’d be different.”Berkman compared this spring to the one he had in 2011 with the Cardinals. He batted .182 in 18 Grapefruit League games, and everybody seemed concerned. Berkman, though, went on to bat .301 with 31 home runs and 91 RBIs and finished seventh in the NL MVP voting.Berkman isn’t worried about his offense, just as he isn’t worried about playing first base at some point soon. He will be used primarily as the designated hitter this season, but will get an occasional start at first base.Berkman, who had two surgeries on his right knee last season, said he is willing and able to play the field.“I’m ready to take a venture out there,” Berkman said. “If there is any chance of me playing the field this year, I need to get out there, because the speed of the game takes a little bit of time to get used to.”Long oddsNick Tepesch is headed to Las Vegas for the first time, but the 24-year-old is viewing it as a business trip. He will start today’s game against the Cubs, and is hoping to continue what has been a strong spring.Tepesch has posted a 2.25 ERA in eight innings over three outings, and has emerged as a long shot to win the fifth spot.“I don’t really pay attention to that,” Tepesch said. “The only difference between me pitching in this situation vs. the last couple of years in the minor leagues is it’s in the stadium instead of the backfields. It’s still baseball.”Tepesch spent the last half of last year at Double A Frisco, going 6-3 with a 4.28 ERA over 16 games, including 14 starts.Woods fighting hardNo pitcher likes to give up runs, but Coty Woods makes it obvious. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to let his fire and passion come out on the mound as he did Thursday against the A’s.Woods also doesn’t want to return to Colorado, where pitching in high elevation got the best of him last season. He had a 0.76 ERA in 38 games at Double A Tulsa, but saw it balloon to a 7.40 ERA at Triple A Colorado Springs.The Rockies exposed Woods to the Rule 5 draft this winter, and the Rangers grabbed him. But Woods has to make the 25-man roster and stay on it the entire season, or he’ll be offered back to the Rockies.“I want nothing more in the world than to stay on this team,” Woods said. “I love it here. It’s a winning team and I want to be a part of it.”As far as his struggles at Triple A last season, Woods said: “I let [the altitude] get to me too much. It was a wake-up call for me. I’m kind of glad it happened. It humbled me.”Briefly• Elvis Andrus on his contract status and trade rumors: “I got two more years [on my contract], that’s all I know. After that, I don’t know. I just worry about my performance on the field.”• Matt Harrison is scheduled to throw four innings today, and said the toe inflammation that forced him to miss a start hasn’t come back. He also has new cleats that give him better support.• Joakim Soria has been pleased with his bullpen sessions so far. He has thrown his fastball, slider and changeup and will start throwing his curveball next week.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison