Berkman targeting dates for return to Rangers

Lance Berkman targeting dates for return to Rangers after missing time due to bad right knee.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Lance Berkman's bad right knee is feeling good enough that the Texas designated hitter has started targeting dates for his return to the lineup.

Berkman thinks that if he continues to progress the way he has in the last couple of days, he'd like to be on a rehab assignment around Aug. 8.

Berkman hit fastballs and curveballs off a machine Wednesday and then took batting practice Thursday. He also ran at about 50 percent.

"The only discouraging thing is when I tried to bump it more than that (50 percent) it started to creep up on me again but I did 10 of them today a lot better than even two days ago," said Berkman, who has been on the disabled list since July 7 and continues to be bothered by pain in his right knee.

Berkman met with general manager Jon Daniels Wednesday after the trade deadline passed without the Rangers making a move for offensive help. Berkman knows that he can help.

"I'm coming back it's just a matter of when," he said. "I feel like if I can push myself and endure a little bit of discomfort to try and help this team win."

Berkman said the key is to get to a point where he doesn't feel like the team needs to pinch hit for him every time he reaches base.

While Berkman was optimistic Thursday, he admitted that hasn't always been the case over the last month. Retirement was on his mind too.

"No doubt," he said. "It absolutely did. You get to a certain point with these injuries and it just becomes so frustrating. It's a mental grind. Every day you feel not good and it's not fun to compete whenever you feel like you're 60 percent of what you should be."

Berkman's goal is to get past that point and help a team that's won three straight.

"I've made up my mind that's what this team needs to happen and I'm going to do my dangdest to give them is whatever I got," he said.

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