Low homer total not alarming to Rangers’ Lance Berkman

Posted Saturday, May. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Safeco Field became the 34th ballpark where Lance Berkman has homered in his career, but the three-run shot Friday night pushed his 2013 home-run total to only four.

Berkman entered the season averaging 25 homers a year, and that includes an injury-plagued 2012 total of two. He doesn’t find his relatively low total so far this year to be terribly alarming.

The key, he said, is driving in runs with any kind of hit.

“For me, home runs are just another way to drive guys in,” said Berkman, who has 364 career homers. “I don’t base my productivity on that single statistic. To me it’s more about having a good at-bat every time I get a guy in scoring position. If I’m doing that, then everything else will take care of itself.”

Manager Ron Washington isn’t alarmed either. He said that Berkman, who had 28 RBIs entering Saturday, is doing everything the Rangers thought he would when they signed him in January.

Washington said that Berkman’s power could come on once he’s completely sure about his right knee, but Washington would be satisfied if Berkman hit as few as 12 homers.

“We don’t have the Lance Berkman of Houston, who could pop you out consistently,” he said. “But we do have the Lance Berkman who has played a lot of baseball and knows how to get big hits. That’s most important.”

Umpire explains call

Jeff Nelson was behind home plate Saturday, a night after he thought Mitch Moreland had caught ball at first base to complete a second-inning double play when, in fact, pitcher Justin Grimm had cut off the throw.

The out was the second of the inning and kept Seattle from potentially a bigger inning in a 9-5 Rangers victory. Moreland told Nelson later in the game that Grimm had caught the ball.

Nelson said that he has never seen a play like that in 25 years of umpiring.

“When you umpire that play, you watch the foot touch the bag and listen for the ball hitting the mitt,” Nelson said. “I ruled the ball was caught by the first baseman, and the ball was actually caught by the pitcher. The pitcher kind of came out of nowhere on that play. I didn’t pick that up. Obviously, looking at the replays, I wish I had.”

Lewis rehabs again

Right-hander Colby Lewis threw 60 pitches over four innings in a rehab start with Round Rock, allowing three runs on six hits, and said that the effort was a step forward after his outing Monday with Double A Frisco.

His velocity was similar to his Monday outing, when he sat in the mid-80s, but he said that the ball felt better coming out of his hand. He threw 47 pitches in 21/3 innings Monday.

“I felt better tonight,” he said in a text message. “I need to work a little on some timing issues, but overall it was a better day.”

Lewis’ next start could be Thursday back in Frisco.


• Left-hander Martin Perez will fly to Phoenix on Sunday and will join the Rangers on Monday to start the first game of a doubleheader against Arizona. Perez, 22, was the choice over right-handers Ross Wolf and Josh Lindblom on the strength of his outing Tuesday, seven scoreless innings and only three hits allowed for Triple A Round Rock.

• The Rangers made a waiver claim on outfielder Joe Benson, who had been with the Minnesota organization and was optioned to Double A Frisco. The Rangers moved left-hander Matt Harrison to the 60-day disabled list to create a spot for Benson on the 40-man roster.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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