Berkman eager to start anew with Rangers

HOUSTON — Houston resident Lance Berkman, who got his career started with the Astros, said he’ll always be a Houston fan at some level.

But as of now, he’s all Texas after signing with the Rangers in the offseason despite speculation that he would re-sign with the Astros.

Texas just makes more sense for Berkman, who batted third for the Rangers Sunday.

“The Astros never really made me an offer so I didn’t really have a chance to accept it or not,” said Berkman, who spent the first 11 ½ seasons of his career with Houston. “There was some genuine interest at a certain level but the Rangers had a greater interest at a higher level and it just made more sense for both parties involved to work out this way.”

Berkman said he didn’t think it made much sense for the Astros to invest in a player like himself because he doesn’t really fit the mold of the current Houston roster. Houston is building a young team that Berkman said is cost effective.

The Rangers are trying to win now and that was big for the 37-year-old Berkman.

“For me, at this late stage in my career, a chance to contend for another World Series title was important to me,” Berkman said. “I think the Rangers have an opportunity to do that.”

Berkman still has strong feelings for the Astros. He also made Minute Maid Park history as the first designated hitter to bat in a regular-season game at the park.

“I feel very fortunate,” Berkman said. “This is my fourth organization and I consider all four at the top of the heap as far as the baseball totem pole if you will. The Cardinals and Yankees have some of the best organizations in the history of the sport. The Astros, in the time I spent with them with the ownership, managers and everybody that was with the team was a first-class organization all the way. This place (Texas) has a very similar feel to those really good Astros teams in the middle of the 2000s there.”