Rangers notes: Lance Berkman working through mechanical issues on second day off

Posted Monday, Jun. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Lance Berkman had no problem with manager Ron Washington giving him a second day off. Berkman knows he’s been struggling at the plate and is hoping an extra day allows him to work out a mechanical flaw in his swing.

Berkman, who had two surgeries on his right knee last year, said he feels fine physically, but noticed he hasn’t been getting a strong foundation from his front (right) leg when batting left-handed.

“That’s one of those things that help you generate the bat speed that it takes to hit with authority,” Berkman said. “That’s something I’ll continue to work on and try to get some of the range of motion back in there where I feel I can be as explosive as I have been. … The good thing is it hasn’t been painful; it’s more of a mechanical issue.”

Berkman is batting .266 this season with five home runs and 31 RBIs. He is in the midst of a slump, too, batting .192 over his last 21 games.

Berkman has traditionally been a bigger offensive threat from the left side, but is batting .260 from that side. He has a .283 average from the right side.

“I’ve never been a great right-handed batter, but at least I feel very comfortable and have a fighting chance up there,” Berkman said.

Berkman will return to the lineup tonight, Washington said.

Profar begins OF work

Ron Washington estimated Jurickson Profar would be ready to start at left field in seven to 10 days. Rangers outfield coach Gary Pettis began working with the 20 year-old rookie Monday to get him acclimated to the position.

“The idea is for him to be functional in left field,” Washington said.

Profar could get an occasional start in left field, which has been played primarily by David Murphy. Murphy started in left 56 of the club’s 70 games, but went into Monday’s game batting .176 over his last 19 games.

Profar has started at second base, third base, shortstop and, on Monday, at designated hitter. Profar became the youngest player in franchise history to start at DH.

Injury updates

Reliever Joakim Soria threw about 35-40 pitches in a live batting practice session Monday, his second in the past week, and could be cleared for a medical rehabilitation assignment Thursday at Double A Frisco.

Soria, 14 months removed from Tommy John elbow surgery and recovering from a pectoral strain, reported no issues after the session and said he threw all of his pitches well.

Soria still has a ways to go before he’s big-league ready, because he’ll need to build up enough to throw on consecutive days before returning.

Other injury news

• Mitch Moreland, on the DL with a right hamstring strain, went 0 for 3 with a strikeout at Double A Frisco on Monday as he began what is expected to be a three-game medical rehabilitation assignment.

• Jeff Baker, sidelined since Thursday with a sprained right thumb, hopes to return Wednesday when the A’s start a left-hander. He is not expected to go on the DL.

• Alexi Ogando, on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, played catch and could be ready to return later this month. The target would be for him to come back for the Rangers-Reds series June 28-30.

• Colby Lewis threw a bullpen session for the first time since late May, and Matt Harrison played catch for the first time since undergoing a second back surgery in early May.

Rangers sign 10th-rounder

Cole Wiper was somewhat of a risky pick for the Rangers in the 10th round. The 6-foot-3 right-hander threw only 12 2/3 innings last year for Oregon as he recovered from Tommy John elbow surgery.

But the Rangers signed Wiper on Monday, and he will begin his professional career in the Arizona Rookie League. It’s a significant signing as Wiper has tremendous upside and was a 14th-round pick in the 2011 draft.

The Rangers have signed their top 13 picks.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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