ARLINGTON -- Designated hitter Lance Berkman could be close to playing first base if needed. Berkman has been used exclusively at DH because he is still recovering from two operations on his right knee last year. But with more playing time and warmer weather getting closer, Berkman could soon become an option if needed at first base.
"It's feeling pretty good," Berkman said. "I won't know until I get out there but at this point, you can say I'm almost to the point where I have my legs under me. From playing a lot of games and running the bases, that's the next logical step."
With Mitch Moreland, the Rangers don't need Berkman to play regularly at first base. But he would give them another option, especially when they play in National League cities and there is no designated hitter. The Rangers have one game against the Cubs on Monday in Chicago and then a two-game series against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Berkman made a couple of appearances at first base in Spring Training but hasn't had much work there since the season started. Cold weather hasn't helped matters much.
"You'd like for him to get some repetitions," Washington said. "But you could put a patch over one of his eyes and he could still play first base."
Berkman has played 761 games at first base and 997 in the outfield during his 15-year career.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less