Lance Berkman sounded upbeat and optimistic that he would return this season before taking batting practice on Thursday afternoon. He even threw out a target date of Aug. 8 or 9 to begin a medical rehabilitation assignment.
Berkman, 37, has been weighing the idea of retirement since landing on the disabled list on July 7 with left hip inflammation and playing with a surgically-repaired right knee, but rehab has progressed better the past couple of days.
"I'm going to do my dangdest to," Berkman said.
Berkman said he had grown frustrated when rehab and treatment didn't seem to be working, but he is beginning to see signs of improvement. He said that, more than the three straight walk-off wins, is why he has become more optimistic about returning.
Berkman had been down on the idea of going on a rehab assignment, but knows it's necessary after missing more than a month on the field. The Rangers are simply hoping he can return and give him what he gave them in April -- a .319 average, eight extra-base hits and 15 RBIs.
-- Drew Davison