Buzz: Berkman flashes power in 1st rehab game

HOUSTON -- Lance Berkman slugged a home run in the first game of his rehabilation stint with Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday night.

Does this push the veteran designated hitter any closer to returning to the big league club for the first time since July 6? Berkman was 2-for-3 in his first game in over a month, and showed power hitting a home run left-handed.

"Well, it makes an impression on me because Berkman knows Berkman," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He’s the one who wanted to go out. He felt he was ready to go out there and play.

"Yes, we’re going to have to monitor him. One thing he knows how to do is hit. If his body allows him to, he’ll hit."

Berkman, who was close to retiring a few weeks ago, is coming back from an inflamed left hip and is always dealing with his surgically repaired right knee. His biggest concern was running and that wasn't tested with his home run and single.

The Rangers don't have a set number of games for him. A likely scenario could see Berkman back with the Rangers on Friday against Seattle.

"It's just a matter of when we decide to bring him back," Washington said. "There’s no set number of at-bats."

Soria working his way: Reliever Joakim Soria was able to get out of a two-on, two-out jam in the bottom of the eighth Saturday night with the Rangers clinging to a one-run lead.

It signaled that while he might not be all the way back from Tommy John surgery, the veteran Soria can still make pitches to get out of tight spots.

"What he has is craftiness," Washington said. "He has knowledge. The more he gets the ball, the better he'll get."

Washington has the luxury of using Soria and Tanner Scheppers in the eighth inning on alternating days. That will help keep both relievers fresh.

Soria has said repeatedly that he has made a full recovery. He was able to get key strikeouts in the eighth inning with his curve ball and slider.

"Some days you feel good," Soria said. "Some days you feel unbelievably good. Some days you don't. It's part of the pressure. I feel like most days are good."

Feliz pushed back: Reliever Neftali Feliz was scheduled to pitch Saturday night for Triple-A Round Rock but didn't because of mild triceps tendinitis in what is being called a precautionary move. The Rangers said Sunday they don't consider it to be serious.

Feliz will be re-evaluated Sunday after throwing on flat ground. He has made three rehab appearances as he continues to come back from Tommy John surgery.

Short hops: Reliver Jason Frasor has three wins since July 29, tied for the most in the majors during that span ... Right-hander Nick Martinez made his Double-A debut with Frisco on Saturday night, allowing a run in six innings ... Frisco second baseman Rougned Odor hit his third Texas League home run and third in the last four games in Frisco's 3-2 victory.