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Friday, January 4, 2013
Report: Rangers want Lance Berkman

By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have offered free agent Lance Berkman a contract, Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan told Fox 26 Sports in Houston on Friday.

"We are looking for a designated hitter and we feel like that he certainly would fill that bill," Ryan said in the report.

Ryan said the club was waiting for Berkman to decide whether he wanted to play again in 2013 and that if he does, the club would "like to try to do something with him."

Berkman, who turns 37 next month, played in just 32 games last season with the St. Louis Cardinals thanks to two surgeries on his right knee last year. In 2011, Berkman had 31 home runs and 94 RBIs with an OPS of .959.

Ryan has known Berkman since the veteran hitter was at Rice in the 1990s and then with the Houston Astros from 1999 to 2010.

"I think if Lance is healthy, I think he can play a big role for any ballclub because of the quality hitter he is," Ryan said.

Berkman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's not sure he's ready to return and that it would take a pretty big commitment by the Rangers -- or another team -- for him to do so.

"In a way they have to buy me out of retirement, and I know that sounds crass -- I wish it didn't -- but it's a big commitment, it can put a strain on the family," Berkman said. "If I'm going to play, I'm going to give my heart and soul to the team. But if the carrot's not big enough, the mule isn't going to want to go."

Berkman has played 14 seasons in the majors and has played in six All-Star Games. He won a championship in 2011 with the Cardinals, who beat the Rangers in seven games.