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Berkman returns to lineup after missing four games

Berkman returns to lineup after missing four games

NEW YORK -- Lance Berkman returned to the Rangers' lineup on Tuesday after sitting out the four previous games. Berkman was not available during the three-game series in St. Louis because of some soreness in his back that required an injection. The time off also gave him a chance to rest his right knee.

"I don't think either is a big concern," Berkman said. "It's just a little soreness, a little tightness, nothing to be concerned about."

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There was no designated hitter in the National League city. Berkman said he could have pinch-hit in St. Louis, but the Rangers decided against it. They used Jurickson Profar in a couple of situations that might have been a good place for Berkman.

"Maybe Jurickson is better at driving the ball right now," Berkman said. "It's not like they had Babe Ruth sitting around. You have to consider the situation. They were committed to giving me those games off unless it was an emergency."

Berkman remains the Rangers' primary designated hitter. But he had two operations on his right knee last year, and the one thing the Rangers have learned is Berkman is going to need time off to remain effective.

"He's managing it, and [manager Ron Washington] is doing a good job managing it," general manager Jon Daniels said. "When we signed him, we knew it wouldn't be a 162-game marathon with him. We knew he would need time off. He's new at the role of designated hitter. He's still trying to figure that out and how his body bounces back. He can still be productive. We're just not sure how much he needs to play. We haven't figured that out yet."

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.

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