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January 07, 2013

Lance Berkman deal to DH is official, and Rangers' infield is set

Lance Berkman was just introduced as the Rangers' designated hitter in 2013 at a dinnertime, somewhat impromptu press conference, during which general manager Jon Daniels said that Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland will man the right side of the infield.

That means that Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt are likely ticketed for Triple A Round Rock to start the season, barring a spring-training injury.

Berkman was asked extensively about the health of his right knee, which was operated on twice last year. He said that everything is sound structurally, and now it's just a matter of strengthening the knee.

He said he has no doubt that he will be ready to go on Opening Day.

"I'll be ready when the bell rings," said Berkman, who is also confident that he could handle first base if needed.

For now, though, that will be Moreland's job to lose. The Rangers had approached Kinsler about playing first base, but Daniels said that keeping the status quo is the best thing to do for now.

Daniels said that the club remains fully confident that Profar can be an everyday player, and the club "won't hesitate" if an opportunity presents itself. But Daniels also said that the club doesn't want to make Profar and Olt, two of their top prospects, bench players when they could be getting regular at-bats at Triple A.

-- Jeff Wilson

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