Ailing Lance Berkman heads to disabled list

Posted Sunday, Jul. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Two more players landed on the disabled list for the Texas Rangers, including designated hitter Lance Berkman with left hip inflammation.

Berkman, 37, has been battling injuries for the past few weeks and injured his hip while running hard to beat out a potential double-play grounder in the fourth inning on Saturday.

Berkman took one more at-bat in the sixth inning, drawing a walk. He aggravated it again when he thought Geovany Soto doubled instead of homered.

“I didn’t know if he got it or not, so I took off and it grabbed me even worse,” Berkman said. “It was hard for me to make it around the bases on that home run; thankfully, it went out.”

Berkman stepped to the plate for his next at-bat in the seventh inning but exited once the Astros brought in a left-handed pitcher. He said it was too painful to swing from the right side but manageable from the left.

“I felt like they’d be better off getting someone up there who would give us a better chance,” Berkman said.

Berkman said it felt “terrible” overnight, which prompted the DL stint. Berkman recently had to overcome right knee soreness after slipping down the stairs coming off the team’s airplane and received a cortisone injection for a stiff back.

Berkman, who had two surgeries on his right knee last year, has only 74 at-bats since June 1 and is batting .176 in that stretch. He started off the season strong, batting .319 in April.

“It’s never good to go on the DL,” Berkman said. “I wish I had more information, but I don’t. It’s definitely frustrating. I feel bad just not to be able to go out there and do my job.”

Berkman and the Rangers discussed their options Sunday and felt placing him on the DL made the most sense. Berkman said he likely wouldn’t have been available for three to four days and, with the All-Star break coming up, understood the decision.

The Rangers knew Berkman presented a health risk when they signed him to a one-year, $11 million contract in the off-season with a club option for 2014 that includes a $1 million buyout.

“When we signed him, we thought everything was going to be fine with the knees,” manager Ron Washington said. “And the knees really haven’t been an issue. We feel strongly that when he comes back, he’ll have all this behind him.

“Putting a Band-Aid on this and a Band-Aid on that … we just felt we needed to give him some time so he can be productive for us.”

The Rangers will share the DH duties for the time being and will likely carry a three-man bench through the All-Star break. But Berkman’s latest setback is sure to spark talk about Manny Ramirez possibly returning to the big leagues.

Ramirez hasn’t played in the majors since 2011 but signed a minor league contract with the Rangers last week and debuted for Triple A Round Rock on Sunday.

Rangers starter Nick Tepesch also went on the DL Sunday with a sore right elbow.

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

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