SURPRISE, Ariz. — Lance Berkman knows he has rust. He’s not sure how much.
Berkman singled, walked and scored two runs in his Rangers’ spring training debut, a 10-0 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday that gave Texas its first exhibition victory this year after an 0-5 start.
Limited to 32 games last year with St. Louis and coming off a pair of knee operations, Berkman was held out of the first six exhibition games because of a strained right calf.
“I’m about where you would expect after having not played last year and just having one game,” he said. “I saw the ball well. My timing is obviously not there yet. It was good to get the first one out of the way. Hopefully, I’ll get into a rhythm of playing, the timing will come and everything will stay together and I’ll be in good shape going into the season.”
A six-time All-Star, Berkman had just 81 at-bats last season.
“It’s the least number of at-bats I’ve had my entire life,” Berkman said. “And probably half of those were under duress and I didn’t have my legs under me. If two weeks from now I still feel like this, I’ll say, yeah, there is more rust that needs to come off. It’s not unusual to feel a little behind and trying to catch up to the fastball. The game is fast. You need your nervous system to kind of get acclimated to it.”
Berkman isn’t worried about his run production.
“Obviously at some point you’re not going to have it,” he said. “I don’t think that happens at 37 necessarily. I certainly don’t feel like I did when I was 25 or 26. That doesn’t mean I can’t be competitive and be the same kind of hitter. I’m not that worried about it.”