Lance Berkman plans to go with the Texas Rangers on their upcoming trip and isn’t ready yet to make a decision on whether he will play again.
The 37-year-old switch-hitting designated hitter said Wednesday that he wants to do what’s right for the organization, and hasn’t yet determined what that is.
Berkman has been on the disabled list since July 7 with left hip inflammation But he is also having issues with his right knee, the one that was operated on twice last season when he was limited to 32 games for St. Louis.
”I think physically I could probably do it,” Berkman said. ”It’s not a matter of not being able to go out there on the field, it’s a matter of how effective I think I’ll be when I get out there. … It’s not the ability to assume the field, it’s what happens after that.”
Texas didn’t acquire a hitter before the non-waiver trade deadline Wednesday. The team also waits word on if Nelson Cruz will be suspended by Major League Baseball in its drug investigation related to the Biogenesis case.
Berkman is hitting .254 with six home runs and 34 RBIs.
”I want to do what I feel is right for the organization, so that’s a factor that I still haven’t decided what the best thing would be,” Berkman said. ”Who knows what’s going to happen with Nellie’s situation. The complexion of the team could be a lot different. I don’t think the landscape is settled enough to be able to make a decision yet.”
General manager Jon Daniels said he spoke to Berkman last week, and expected to have another conversation as early as Wednesday night.
Asked if he would be urging Berkman to do all he can to return in light of the Rangers not adding a hitter and a possible 50-game suspension for Cruz, Daniels said Berkman was already trying to get back on the field.
”I don’t know that I need to urge him for that. I think he’s trying,” Daniels said. ”I think we’re all at the mercy at (how) our bodies respond to certain things. I just don’t think his body’s responding to either time off or treatment. I don’t know that he needs urging. … But so far, it hasn’t really bounced back the way he had hoped or the way we had hoped.”
The Rangers knew of the risk when they gave Berkman a $10 million contract last winter that includes a $12 million club option for 2014 with a $1 million buyout.
Texas wrapped up a series with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, and have a makeup game Thursday at home against Arizona. The playoff-hopeful Rangers then play their next 10 games on the road – at Oakland, the Angels and then Houston, where Berkman started his career from 1999-2010.