Lance Berkman’s knee problems have him thinking about retirement


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.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.