ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Lance Berkman #12 of the St. Louis Cardinals argues with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa after being called out on strikes in the seventh inning during Game Four of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Look, it's old news now. We all know the Texas Rangers are going to have to find a way to, not replace but, get back some of Josh Hamilton's production at the plate.
A big part of that plan is an aging, injury-prone native Texan by the name of Lance Berkman, a guy that tormented the Rangers back in the 2011 World Series when he helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a come-from-behind series win over the Rangers after having some disparaging remarks about the Rangers earlier that year.
Now, in a lot of ways, the Rangers' success in 2013 will ride on Berkman's shoulders as he's slated to hit No. 3 in the Rangers' lineup and hope to get back to his 2011 numbers when he hit .301 with 31 home runs and 94 RBIs in 145 games with the Cardinals. In 2012, he played in just 32 games with the Cardinals while dealing with a knee injury that eventually required surgery.
The Rangers are hoping he can stay healthy in 2013 and replicate his 2011 season, but he's already delaling with an injury that caused him to miss the first day of intrasquad games on Wednesday and has him listed as day-to-day with a minor calf strain.
“It’s slightly more than normal muscle soreness, but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about,” Berkman told ESPN Dallas on Wednesday.
The Rangers have basically told the 37-year-old to go at his own pace this spring and just to be sure he's ready to go when the Rangers open the season in primetime on March 31 in Houston, Berkman's former stomping grounds with the Astros and college home of the former Rice Owl.