Knee problems have been hampering Lance Berkman for years, but left hip inflammation has him sidelined right now. He's been on the DL since early July and hasn't made much progress in his rehab, which is why he was contemplating retirement and forfeiting the remainder of his contract a few weeks ago.
Berkman is no longer considering retirement, however. He told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that he is hoping to re-join the team within the next two weeks because the Rangers really need some help on offense.
“That we didn't trade for anybody and that we still don't know what is going to happen with [Nelson Cruz]," said Berkman to Grant. "I feel like if I push myself and endure a little discomfort, I can get out there and try to do something to help this team win ... I've made up my mind to try and play. This team needs a bat and I'm gonna do my dangdest to make that happen.”
Cruz, the team's leader with 25 home runs, is facing a suspension related to his ties to the South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. The suspensions are expected to be announced very soon, perhaps as soon as Friday.
The 37-year-old Berkman took batting practice for the second straight day on Thursday and ran a series of 60-yard sprints, though only at "50 percent." He feels soreness in the hip whenever he runs harder. Berkman hopes to start a minor league rehab assignment no later than August 9 or 10.
In 68 games before the injury, Berkman hit .254/.355/.377 (98 OPS+) with six homers. The Rangers are averaging just 4.22 runs per game, a bit below the 4.36 AL average. During their recent 6-12 slide, they scored just 3.11 runs per game.
Although they were connected to every notable bat before Wednesday's trade deadline, Texas stood pat. They acquired right-hander Matt Garza to shore up the rotation last week.