Up to this point in the season, the Texas Rangers have used Lance Berkman, who they signed during the offseason, specifically as a designated hitter. This was mostly because Berkman is still recovering from two knee surgeries that he had last season.
Now that the weather has started to warm up and the surgeries have gone further into Berkman’s past, the Rangers may start using him as an option at first base.
There is no issue with the man who is currently residing at first base, Mitch Moreland, but he isn’t producing the way the Rangers expected before the season. Berkman has been producing very well and the Rangers will want his bat in the lineup when they play in national league cities.
They are playing one game against the Chicago Cubs next Monday as a make-up date before they start a two-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Rangers can not afford to have Berkman out of the lineup for those three games. Maybe against the Cubs, but definitely not against a team as good as the Brewers.
He could simply split time with Moreland whenever the Rangers find appropriate. Looking at their respective numbers on the season, it would be worth it for the Rangers to keep Berkman in the lineup instead of Moreland for the NL games.
The bottom line is that the Rangers, now losers of three out of the last four, can’t afford to take a streaking bat out of the lineup — even if the NL rules might not provide an ideal fit.