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June 17, 2013

Rangers pregame notes on Lance Berkman, Joakim Soria and Alexi Ogando

Lance Berkman had no problem with manager Ron Washington giving him a second day off. Berkman knows he’s been struggling at the plate, and he is hoping an extra day allows him to work out a mechanical flaw in his swing.

Berkman, who had two surgeries on his right knee last year, said he feels fine physically, but noticed he hasn’t been getting a strong foundation from his front right leg when batting left-handed.

“That’s one of those things that helps you generate the bat speed that it takes to hit with authority,” Berkman said. “That’s something I’ll continue to work on and try to get some of the range of motion back in there where I feel I can be as explosive as I have been. … The good thing is it hasn’t been painful, it’s more of a mechanical issue.”

Berkman is batting .266 this season with five home runs and 31 RBIs. He is in a slump, though, where he is batting .192 over his last 21 games which has dropped his average from .309 to .266.

Berkman has traditionally been a bigger offensive threat from the left-side, but is batting .260 from that side so far this season. He has a .283 average from the right-side.

“I’ve never been a great right-handed batter, but at least I feel very comfortable and have a fighting chance up there,” Berkman said.

Here are a couple other pregame notes:

* With Berkman off for a second straight day, Jurickson Profar is leading off and serving as the designated hitter. Ian Kinsler is back in the three-hole, as the Rangers try to get going offensively.

* Reliever Joakim Soria threw about 35-40 pitches in a live batting practice session this afternoon and said everything felt good. He could begin a medical rehabilitation assignment as early as Thursday with Double A Frisco.

* Alexi Ogando has been playing catch and could be ready to return later this month, possibly by Rangers-Reds series scheduled for June 28-30.

* Matt Harrison played catch for the first time since undergoing back surgery in May.

-- Drew Davison

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