HOUSTON -- So far, so good with Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman, according to the report manager Ron Washington received on Sunday morning. Berkman went 2-for-3 with a strikeout, home run and single in a rehab game for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday night.
"He swung the bat well," Washington said.
The Rangers are more concerned about Berkman's ability to run, and he didn't have to do too much running between the strikeout, home run and being left on base after the two-out single in the fourth. The game was delayed by rain for 51 minutes in the fifth, and Berkman did not play after that.
"One thing, he knows how to hit," Washington said. "If his body allows him, he knows how to hit."
Manny Ramirez pinch-hit for Berkman in the sixth, marking the first time in Minor League history that a player with 555 Major League home runs pinch-hit for a guy with 366 of them.
Berkman, who is on the disabled list because of inflammation in his left hip as well as a chronic sore right knee, will likely play at least three or four more games at Round Rock. The Rangers don't expect to activate him at least through the two-game set against the Brewers that starts on Tuesday. The Rangers have an off-day on Thursday and they may make a decision then.
"It's just a matter of when we decide to bring him back," Washington said.
Washington said when Berkman does come back, he will resume his duties as the Rangers' designated hitter, although not playing as regularly as he did earlier in the season.
"He's not a guy who I'm going to use off the bench," Washington said. "If this guy is right, he is another weapon."
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