Rangers notes: Lance Berkman improves, but not ready to rehab

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Lance Berkman continues to make progress on his way back from left hip inflammation, but the Texas Rangers designated hitter said on Wednesday that he doesn’t have a clear idea of when he will go on a rehab assignment.

Berkman took early batting practice again but hasn’t run since Monday, and he’s only able to do that at 50 percent. He will try again on Friday at Minute Maid Park, but he had hoped to be going to Round Rock or Frisco.

The chances of him starting an assignment this weekend seem remote.

“I wouldn’t rule it out, but we’ll have to see how it goes,” said Berkman, who hasn’t played since July 6. “You want to get out there as quick as you can. Not being 100 percent ready to go on a rehab assignment is not what I’d hoped, but it’s not entirely unexpected.”

The Rangers have used the DH spot to rotate everyday players through it for a rest day, but they will gladly take back Berkman’s veteran presence as regularly as his hip and achy right knee allow it.

But they aren’t rushing Berkman back in the wake of the 50-game suspension Nelson Cruz started serving on Monday.

“That’s going to be based on what he can withstand,” manager Ron Washington said. “If his bat can be as active as it was the first month of the season, darn right he’s going to play. If his body can give us a month and a half, I want that month and a half.”

Next stop: Houston

The Rangers are enjoying their first off day since the All-Star break Thursday in Houston ahead of a four-game wraparound series Friday through Monday at Minute Maid Park.

The last-place Astros are scheduled to throw three left-handers, which will again mix up the Rangers’ outfield. The right-handed-hitting Joey Butler should make his major league debut, in left field, and Craig Gentry, another right-handed hitter, figures to see time in center field.

Leonys Martin, who has solidified his spot as the leadoff hitter, will play right field against the lefties, and Ron Washington plans to get Jeff Baker’s right-handed bat in multiple games.

“This is the first time we’ve had a string of lefties in a while,” Washington said.

To prepare for the Astros’ port-siders, Gentry started on Wednesday against Angels righty Tommy Hanson to help knock some rust off his swing as the lefty-hitting Engel Beltre sat for the first time in the series.

Rear-ended

Shortstop Elvis Andrus and the infield dirt at Angel Stadium have had a love-hate relationship the past couple seasons.

He had a rather comical moment last season while running to finish off a triple, falling twice on the play. Andrus had another funny, slippery moment on Tuesday night.

Erick Aybar tried to steal second base in the sixth inning, and Andrus slid to his rear as he tried to cover the base. A.J. Pierzynski’s throw was true, so Andrus reached up to catch the ball and got the tag down on Aybar for the out.

“I don’t know what’s going on with this field,” Andrus said. “It was a perfect throw. It was kind of funny, but we got the out. That’s the most important thing.”

Briefly

• Right-hander Neftali Feliz will make a rehab appearance Thursday, his first with Triple A Round Rock. He threw a scoreless inning in each of his first two appearances in the Arizona League.

• Third baseman Joey Gallo, the 39th overall pick in 2012, will rejoin Class A Hickory today after rehabbing a groin injury in Arizona.

• Center fielder Lewis Brinson, the 29th overall pick in 2012, returned from the disabled list (head contusion) Tuesday and hit two home runs for Hickory, including a two-run walk-off shot.

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

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