Berkman feels he's close to rehab assignment

Berkman feels he's close to rehab assignment

Berkman feels he's close to rehab assignment

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers lost one hitter from the middle of their order when Nelson Cruz was suspended on Monday, but it appears they are getting one back in the near future.

Lance Berkman, who has been on the disabled list since July 7 with left hip inflammation, has been running, taking batting practice and feels a return is on the horizon.

"I feel OK, I'm coming along," Berkman said. "It's hard to say as far as a percentage goes, but I don't think it'll be too much longer before I go out on a rehab assignment."

Because he has been working out, Berkman believes the rehab assignment would likely just be "a couple of games." He is also dealing with chronic soreness in his right knee and that has had a big impact on his hitting this season.

The Rangers wanted Berkman back in the lineup regardless, but given the situation with Cruz, there may be more of a sense of urgency to bring him back.

"You can't rush Mother Nature, so whatever time it takes to get back and get right, that's what I'm going to do," Berkman said. "Obviously it's unfortunate, but it's not something I can really rush."

Prior to his injury, Berkman was hitting .254 with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 68 games.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.