Lance Berkman is ready to take some swings in a spring training game for the Texas Rangers.
Berkman, who has been bothered by a mild right calf strain, is set to make his spring debut today.
“You need some at-bats to kind of get a good gauge of where you are with your spring,” Berkman said Wednesday. “From a practice standpoint, I feel pretty good. But there’s certainly work to do and I’m sure I’ll find that out, just where I’m at, just in terms of timing and bat speed and all of that.”
The Rangers have been cautious with the 37-year-old switch-hitter, a first baseman who will primarily be their designated hitter. He played only 32 games with St. Louis last season because of two operations on his right knee and a left calf strain, and thought about retiring before agreeing to an $11 million, one-year deal with Texas.
Berkman was going through workouts, batting practice and some base-running drills even while being held out of the first six spring games. He is scheduled to be the DH today against Cleveland, though he said he could play in the field if needed.
All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre is “still progressing well” from his strained calf, assistant general manager Thad Levine said. The former Mariner has been going through workouts like Berkman, but the Rangers still haven’t said when he will play his first spring game.
SAUSAGE ON THE LAM
Missing: 7-foot Italian sausage wearing a chef’s hat and a bow tie.
Guido, one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ base-running sausages, is nowhere to be found after it was last seen hanging out in bars.
Someone wearing the Klement’s Racing Italian Sausage costume recently posed with patrons at the Milwaukee Curling Club in Cedarburg, Wis., The 7-foot-long, $3,000 costume was in a back room at the bar during a Feb. 16 fundraiser. Someone saw the sausage walk out the door that evening and, according to the Journal Sentinel newspaper, it hit two more bars that night but hasn’t been seen since.
HUNTER’S SON OFF HOOK
A grand jury declined to indict the son of Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter in a sexual assault case.
Darius McClinton-Hunter, 18, was arrested in May with four others in Prosper, Texas, and accused of sexual assault. A Collin County grand jury indicated Wednesday there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute him.
McClinton-Hunter has denied the allegations. His attorney said he was “elated.”
Torii Hunter, who signed with the Tigers this offseason, left the Angels last year for 14 games in the wake of his son’s arrest.
ORITZ ON LEAVE
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz left the team for a few days to return to the Dominican Republic for a personal matter.
Before Wednesday night’s game against the Orioles, Boston manager John Farrell said that Ortiz, who has yet to play this spring training, should be back by Friday.
Farrell declined to say what Ortiz’s personal matter was.
Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks left the game against Baltimore in the first inning because of a sore right wrist. Middlebrooks, who broke his right wrist on Aug. 10, 2012, grimaced after swinging at Chris Tillman’s first pitch of the at-bat. He was removed and replaced by Pedro Ciriaco. … Top Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler was scratched from his start against the Cardinals because of a mild oblique strain. General manager Sandy Alderson said the hard-throwing right-hander was injured swinging a bat in the cage. … Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro left in the bottom of the fourth inning after pulling up on a ground ball to shortstop during an 11-7 loss to the Dodgers. The Cubs said he had left hamstring tightness. … Dodgers infielder Luis Cruz went to emergency care with flulike symptoms on Tuesday. Manager Don Mattingly said he was fine on Wednesday and will be out of for a few days.