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Rangers’ Cruz out three weeks; Berkman to replace him?

Ian Casselberry
Big League Stew

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The Texas Rangers got a big 9-5 win Sunday night against the Los Angeles Angels, but they also took a pretty big loss.

Outfielder Nelson Cruz had to leave the game in the sixth inning when he pulled his left hamstring running the bases. Cruz has plenty of experience with hamstring pulls, as he went on the disabled list three times last season with similar injuries. So he probably knew this wouldn't be good.

It became official Monday afternoon, as a MRI exam revealed a Grade 1 strain of the hamstring. Though that's a less-severe injury, it will still put Cruz out for three weeks. Team doctors will give Cruz a plasma injection in an attempt to speed the healing process.

With the Rangers trying to hold off the Angels in the AL West, and the calendar about to turn to September, Cruz's injury comes at a bad time. On an individual basis, Cruz had broken out of a bad slump, perhaps fueled by ditching his batting gloves. In the weekend series versus the Angels, he batted 8 for 12 with two home runs and six RBIs.

The Rangers' lineup should get a boost when Adrian Beltre returns later this week. But who might fill in for Cruz could become an interesting question. Class AAA outfielder Leonys Martin will likely be the immediate replacement.

But the Rangers might try to take a bigger swing. {YSP:MORE} According to the Dallas Morning News, Texas is looking to acquire Lance Berkman from the St. Louis Cardinals. Berkman, who's believed to have cleared waivers, has had a resurgent season, batting .289/.405/.570 with 30 homers and 81 RBIs.

Rangers president Nolan Ryan said the chances of getting Berkman were "remote," but acknowledged it was a possibility. No word on what the Cardinals would seek in return, but Berkman is playing out a one-year contract and is owed $1.33 million for the rest of the season.

Getting Berkman would have a comedic element to it, as he opted to sign with the Cardinals instead of the Rangers in the offseason because he felt Texas would be "an average team" after losing Cliff Lee to free agency. Signing with St. Louis obviously worked out for Berkman individually. But with St. Louis 10 games out and sitting with an elimination number of 18 in the NL Central, he'll probably have to move on if he wants to see the playoffs this year.

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