ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 10: Lance Berkman #27 of the Texas Rangers hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 10, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
So far, the Lance Berkman in the 3-hole experiment hasn't been too successful for the Texas Rangers.
There's no doubt the guy gets on base, often via the walk and now with his patented long bunt to beat the defensive shift he sees a lot of the time, but he's not been an impact bat in the middle of the Rangers' order and has been a big reason for the team's recent offensive slump that was busted on Monday night, when he was on the bench.
The 37-year-old veteran got the night off on Monday after a day off on Sunday and is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday night against right-handed Oakland starter Jarrod Parker, which will immediately test a mechanical issue Berkman said he's been trying to fix with his swing from the left side.
Berkman told reporters he's having trouble straightening his right leg when batting left-handed, the same right leg he's had four surgeries on. He said it's not a pain issue, just a mechanical one, but that it's affecting his bat speed and power when hitting left-handed, the side of the plate Berkman has traditionally produced more power from over the course of his lengthy career.
"I want to make things as good as they have been in the past," Berkman told ESPN Dallas. "It's hard for me to straighten out my front leg when I hit left-handed. It's something that is impacting my bat speed."
He'll have a chance to try to work out the issue Tuesday in live game action as he'll be opposing a right-handed pitcher and trying to get out of a slump that's now extended for about a month and a half after a solid start to his Rangers tenure in April.