FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has the scoop:
Free agent Lance Berkman still has not decided that he will play in 2013. But he is talking about a possible return with multiple clubs, including the Texas Rangers, major-league sources say.
Berkman — a native of Waco, Texas — considered signing with the Rangers before the 2011 season but instead joined the Cardinals and went on to win his first World Series ring. He re-signed with St. Louis for the 2012 season but appeared in only 23 games because of knee and calf issues.
The 36-year-old could serve as the Rangers’ primary designated hitter this summer — a role manned last year by Michael Young. Berkman has undergone multiple recent knee procedures but is claiming to be healthy.
The Astros are also known to have interest, but “Big Puma” probably prefers to join a contender.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.