Nelson Cruz’s hamstring injury could motivate Rangers to pursue Lance Berkman

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While the Rangers await word on Nelson Cruz’s latest hamstring injury Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News speculates that Lance Berkman of the Cardinals would be “their prime target … if the Rangers do go elsewhere for help.”

Berkman cleared waivers last week, so the Cardinals are free to trade the 35-year-old outfielder, and he’s owed around $1.3 million for September as part of a one-year contract.

Fraley notes that Berkman considered signing with the Rangers before choosing the Cardinals and he’s been an incredible pickup for St. Louis, hitting .289 with 30 homers and a .975 OPS in 118 games.

Obviously the Rangers would love to add an impact bat to the lineup as they try to stay ahead of the Angels in the AL West, but Berkman said last week that he’d ideally like to re-sign with the Cardinals and regardless of Cruz’s status a last-minute deal for a hitter as good as Berkman seems unlikely.

Melvin Upton released by the Giants

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Jon Heyman reports that the Giants have released outfielder Melvin Upton. He requested his release.

Upton, who turned 33 yesterday, signed with San Francisco in early April after the Blue Jays released him. It was a minor league deal. After recovering from a rash of minor injuries, Upton batted .244/.306/.333 in 12 games at Triple-A Sacramento. There was no indication that the Giants were going to call him up. I presume that, back when they signed him, they figured they’d be contending and could maybe use a veteran bat. That’s obviously not the case anymore.

I suppose it’s possible that someone gives Upton a look when rosters expand in eight days, but I figure it’s more likely that we’ll next see him as he fights to make a team on a minor league deal next spring.

Carlos Santana left last night’s game with back tightness

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Andrew Miller leaving last night’s Indians-Red Sox game got all the press, but the Indians lost another key player in the game as well: Carlos Santana. He was forced to leave after going 0-for-3. There was no followup announcement after the game, so he’s likely being reevaluated.

Santana is hitting .250/.355/.446 on the year, but he’s been pretty hot of late, hitting .375 with a couple of homers in the past week.