Texas beefs up with Berkman

The Associated PressJanuary 8, 2013 

Lance Berkman accepted the Texas Rangers’ offer this time, and is returning to his home state to be their designated hitter in what likely will be the last stop of his career.

The Rangers completed a $10 million, one-year deal Monday after the 36-year-old Berkman, who played 32 games last season for St. Louis, passed a physical. The deal includes an option for 2014 with guarantee incentives.

Berkman provides the potential big bat for the middle of the lineup the Rangers were seeking after losing slugger Josh Hamilton and catcher Mike Napoli in free agency. Berkman is coming off an injury-plagued season in St. Louis, where the six-time All-Star spent months on the disabled list because of a strained left calf and a meniscus tear in his right knee that required surgery.

Texas was interested in Berkman when he was a free agent two years ago. Berkman chose St. Louis, saying then he thought Texas was going to be an average team. The Cardinals reached the World Series in 2011 and beat Texas in seven games for the title.

SHORT HOPS

Jose Lopez, a former All-Star infielder for the Seattle Mariners, signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League for a reported $911,000. The 29-year-old Lopez spent the first seven of his nine seasons in the majors with Seattle. … Reliever Mike Gonzalez, 34, and the Brewers finalized a $2.25 million, one-year contract. … Former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will work as a commentator for NBC Sports Radio. He will be the part-time co-host of a weekday talk show that debuts in April. … Richard P. McWilliam, founder of The Upper Deck Co. that became a key player in the trading cards and collectibles industry, has died. He was 59.

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