Lance Berkman’s knee problems have him thinking about retirement

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Lance Berkman is currently on the disabled list with left hip inflammation, but his surgically-repaired right knee is the bigger issue right now. In fact, he tells Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that he has considered shutting it down for the rest of the season or even retiring if he doesn’t make progress soon.

“I’ve definitely thought about it,” Berkman said of shutting down for the remainder of the season. “But I haven’t reached any final decisions on it. Hopefully I’ll do the best that I can and help the team. It could also depend on what the team’s needs are. This is an uncertain time of the year for everybody.”

Berkman has already had four surgeries on his right knee and is having trouble fully extending it right now. The 37-year-old was eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but he just resumed running yesterday. His return is still a ways off, if at all.

Injuries limited Berkman to just 32 games with the Cardinals last season, so many were surprised when the Rangers gave him a one-year, $11 million contract over the winter. They’ve received little bang for their buck so far, as he’s batting just .254 with six home runs and a .732 OPS through 68 games this season.

Grant notes that the Rangers have been keeping their eye on hitters like Alex Rios, Hunter Pence, and Kendrys Morales over the past couple of weeks, in part to secure an insurance policy for Nelson Cruz in case of a suspension, but they could ramp up their efforts to land a bat if they feel Berkman can’t be counted on.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.