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Berkman Solid in Debut

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It's just one game, and a Cactus League game at that, but so far, so good for the Texas Rangers' Lance Berkman experience.

    The 37-year-old veteran made his Rangers debut on Thursday in a Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians after missing the first week of spring training with a mild calf strain. Berkman hit leadoff for the Rangers (he'll most likely hit third in the regular season) and went 2-for-3 while scoring two runs. He also drew a walk on nine pitches in his first at-bat, showing what Rangers fans are hoping to see from Rangers hitters this year — a little selectivity and discipline at the plate.

    Berkman had just 81 at-bats last season for the St. Louis Cardinals thanks to knee problems that eventually required surgery, but was a monster for the Cardinals in 2011, hitting .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs while helping lead the Cardinals to a come-from-behind win over the Rangers in the World Series.

    He's expected to hit third for the Rangers and help take over for the departed Josh Hamilton and hopefully fill some of the power void left by Hamilton's and Mike Napoli's departures in the offseason. While he didn't show much power on Thursday, his debut was a definite positive to see as it was clear there wasn't an issue of rust with Berkman.