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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Buzz: Berkman nearing decision on future

By willst

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Lance Berkman's future remained uncertain Tuesday as he resumed hitting, something he'll do for the next two days to see if he can still be effective.

He'll likely have a decision after that on whether he'll finish these last two months with the Rangers or walk away on the season and maybe his career.

Berkman said Tuesday that it's a very tough time as he sees the end of his career coming sooner than he wants it to, and that's frustrating for a player who has 366 home runs, putting him 75th on the all-time list.

"I have got to come to grips with what my true physical capabilities are at this point," Berkman said, "and then make a decision based on that, and not based on an unrealistic expectation of performance."

Berkman hit in the cages Tuesday instead of the original plan of hitting on the field with the team. He had hoped to run and test out his injured left hip, which has kept him on the 15-day disabled list since July 7.

Manager Ron Washington sounded less than optimistic about Berkman's return.

"It's coming along slow," Washington said. "When we had him and he was healthy he was very productive. He's not that 22-year-old or 28-year-old that he used to be. Let's hope that he progresses to the point where he can get back and help us. That's not happening right now."

Berkman's big issue continues to be his surgically repaired right knee. He can't straighten out as he would like to, which is impacting his bat speed. That, and the basic athletic act of running.

It's a balancing act, Berkman said, as he tries to figure out whether, at 37 years old, he can still do what he did when he was 25 (or come close to it).

"Mechanically, my swing is not in a good place because of the inability to put it in a place I need it to be to hit with any kind of authority," Berkman said. "Even if you have a high on-base guy, that's not going to do any good if a guy can't run out of sight in a week. I have to figure out a way to generate more bat speed and/or power, and if I can't do that, it limits my effectiveness and use for this team."

Berkman said there has been full disclosure between him and general manager Jon Daniels in the last few days. The trade deadline is at 3 p.m. CT Wednesday and the Rangers need to decide if they need another bat.

There's also the financial aspect, since Berkman is still owed about $4.5 million. He signed a $10 million contract for 2013, with a $1 million option for 2014.

"You have to fish or cut bait, and we're getting down to that point rather quickly," Berkman said. "I don't want to let this thing linger and linger and linger, because I'm not doing the team or myself any good by doing that. There does come a point in time where you have to make a decision, and it's either yea or nay and that's it."

Moreland sits: First baseman Mitch Moreland, suffering through an 0-for-23 stretch, was out of the starting lineup Tuesday against Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson. Utility man Jeff Baker started in his place.

Moreland, who is batting .152 since coming off the disabled list June 21, didn't say much, other than he definitely isn't in a spot he wants to be in.

"It's been strange," Washington said. "I don't think he's the first one to go through an 0-for-23 slump. It's obvious he's not going to the opposite field. He has to get back to that. When he uses the opposite field, he's productive."

Ramirez decision coming soon: A person close to slugger Manny Ramirez who was with him in Round Rock on Tuesday said the slugger expects to hear something by the end of the week on whether he'll remain with Rangers organization.

The Rangers aren't expected to call up Ramirez, who showed power early in his stint with Round Rock with three home runs. He did have two hits and two RBIs in Monday night's game with the Express.

Ramirez signed a minor league contract, and while he doesn't have an out in his contract, it's doubtful the Rangers would make the 41-year-old wait around in limbo.

Feliz gets first game Friday: Right-hander Neftali Feliz, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, will pitch in his first game on Friday in the Arizona Rookie League. Feliz threw live batting practice on Tuesday.

Beras needs surgery: Outfield prospect Jairo Beras, suspended last year for misrepresenting his age to Major League Baseball, suffered a broken hamate bone in his left hand and needs surgery. The injury is becoming more prevalent for hitters who hold the knob of the bat in their palm.

Beras is expected to be ready for the fall instructional leagues.