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Sunday, July 7, 2013
Berkman's injury means more lineup changes

By Todd Wills

Lance Berkman didn't land on the 15-day disabled list Sunday as a hitter going through a hot streak.

He's dealt with soreness in his knee and then his back and hip at various points in the season. Berkman hasn't been a healthy player since April. At 37 years old, he's a player who could be facing the end.

The Rangers are hoping the time off will help him.

"It gives him a chance to catch up with his knees, and his knees causing other things to flare up and put a Band-Aid on this and a Band-Aid on that," Washington said. "We just felt we needed to give him some time, so he can be productive for us."

Injuries to his lower core have sapped Berkman's bat speed and power. He had three extra base hits in his last 31 games when he landed on the disabled list after injuring himself running the bases in the seventh inning of Saturday's 9-5 loss to the Houston Astros.

The switching-hitting Berkman hasn't hit a home run as a left-handed hitter -- his power side -- since May 11. He was batting .187 for his last 29 games, dropping his batting average to a season low .254.

Still, Berkman going down creates more issues for the Rangers' lineup. It should mean more regular playing time for 20-year-old Jurickson Profar, who has struggled at the plate playing only three or four days a week. Profar went into Sunday batting .252 with four RBIs in his last 28 games.

The Rangers can use the DH spot to give regulars a day off in the field. They also will wait to see if the right-handed hitting Manny Ramirez still has something left.

Ramirez is starting his first game for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday night.