Rangers' Berkman looks like a bargain after hot start

Rangers vs. Angels

Credit: Getty Images

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 7: Lance Berkman #27 of the Texas Rangers hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 7, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)



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WFAA Sports

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 11:59 AM

ARLINGTON -- Texas Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman's two-run blast off Jared Weaver Sunday sparked the Rangers to a series win over the Angels.

Not bad for a guy who otherwise would have been coaching at his alma matter, Rice University, in Houston, instead of making $10 million in the majors this season.

"I was having a lot of fun helping coach out at Rice," Berkman said. "So, if I had ending up doing that, I probably would have been just fine."

The 37 year old hurt his right leg last May with the Cardinals. He had surgery then, and again in September. He's had six knee surgeries total, so a hot start this season means something.

"It's good for your psyche," Berkman said. "It doesn't matter how long you've been playing, there's always that nagging doubt - at least with me, y'know - can I still compete at this level?"

He's doing much more than competing. He's among the top 10 in the big leagues in several hitting categories. He's also set a Ranger record, becoming the first player to tally at least two total bases in the first six games of the season.

There were more than a few laughs when the Rangers inked Berkman's $10 million deal, but the early returns have to make the Ranger brass smile for now, at least. They're getting a good early return on an investment in a veteran hitter willing to share his knowledge.

"He's as much of a talker as any guy I've played with in this game," said outfielder David Murphy. "He'll definitely give you some insight if you want it."

Berkman said he's evolved over the years when it comes to how he views the game.

"To have a year like last with a couple knee surgeries, not really sure if I was going to play this year, its kind of a new lease.   And one good thing about your old age is, you have some perspective and you can enjoy it," he said.

And if he stays healthy, and builds on a great start, Ranger fans will enjoy this season a lot more, too.

E-mail jtrahan@wfaa.com