8/5/2013 10:41 P.M. ET
Berkman feels he's close to rehab assignment
By T.R. Sullivan and William Boor / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The Rangers lost one hitter from the middle of their order when Nelson Cruz was suspended on Monday, but it appears they are getting one back in the near future.
Lance Berkman, who has been on the disabled list since July 7 with left hip inflammation, has been running, taking batting practice and feels a return is on the horizon.
"I feel OK, I'm coming along," Berkman said. "It's hard to say as far as a percentage goes, but I don't think it'll be too much longer before I go out on a rehab assignment."
Because he has been working out, Berkman believes the rehab assignment would likely just be "a couple of games." He is also dealing with chronic soreness in his right knee and that has had a big impact on his hitting this season.
The Rangers wanted Berkman back in the lineup regardless, but given the situation with Cruz, there may be more of a sense of urgency to bring him back.
"You can't rush Mother Nature, so whatever time it takes to get back and get right, that's what I'm going to do," Berkman said. "Obviously it's unfortunate, but it's not something I can really rush."
Prior to his injury, Berkman was hitting .254 with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 68 games.
Without Cruz, Rangers mull outfield options
ANAHEIM -- Life without Nelson Cruz began for the Rangers on Monday night against the Angels. It began with outfielders Joey Butler and Engel Beltre being called up from Triple-A Round Rock and infielder Adam Rosales being designated for assignment.
It also began with David Murphy in right field on Monday night with right-hander Jerome Williams on the mound for the Angels. Beltre started in left and Leonys Martin in center, giving the Rangers three left-handed hitters in the outfield.
The Rangers also had three right-handed hitters on the bench who can play the outfielder in Butler, Craig Gentry and Jeff Baker. The Rangers could end up platooning at all three outfield spots while Cruz is suspended.
"We're going to use the whole roster and continue to play Texas Rangers baseball," manager Ron Washington said.
Murphy could alternate between right and left field. Butler has a plus arm, so when he's in the lineup, Washington will likely start him in right field. Butler will likely see most of his playing time against left-handers. He was hitting .321 with a .532 slugging percentage against left-handers at Round Rock. This is his first time in the big leagues.
"Joey's done everything we've asked of him," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's hit every way up the ladder, every spot in the organization. Especially, he's always hit against left-handers, he plays a solid right field, he has a strong arm. The way the roster is constructed right now there is no way to replace Nellie's production with any one player. We're looking to get guys who are going to fit together as a team and probably utilize platoons in a couple of spots."
The Rangers are still talking to other teams about possible outfielders who are available. But Daniels isn't optimistic, especially because players who are traded must first pass through waivers.
"We go through the waiver balloon every day and make decisions on who we would claim," Daniels said. "Obviously there's some strategy to it for potentially blocking guys. We're mainly looking at it as guys we can use on our club. We're realistic about it. You don't see that many impactful trades made this time of year.
"We're looking at this as we're looking this going forward with our club and we like our team. Obviously Nelson is a big source of power and production for us and again we're not expecting to truly replace that. But we have some other players here who we think can do some different things and give Wash some options to mix and match. Wash has done a tremendous job of that all year and we're going to have to keep doing it."
Butler was a 15th-round pick for the Rangers in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of New Orleans. He has played in 688 Minor League games before finally getting the call on Monday. That includes 347 games over the past three years at Triple-A.
"I'm at a loss for words," Butler said. "It's a humbling experience. I'm excited, there's not much more to say."
Rangers CEO Ryan disappointed by PED news
ANAHEIM -- Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan was among those who expressed his disappointment that baseball is still dealing with issues regarding steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.
"I think as a whole, I think we're disappointed that we haven't as an industry moved past this because there's been an awful lot of effort put into this, a lot of education," Ryan said. "MLB has made it a priority and so it's disappointing we haven't gotten further down the road."
MLB on Monday suspended 13 players as a result of the league's Biogenesis investigation. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez received the stiffest penalty -- a 211-game ban without pay through the end of the 2014 regular season. Rodriguez, 38, has appealed the suspension, which is to begin Thursday. His case will be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
Rodriguez's discipline, MLB said in its written announcement, is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years. Rodriguez's discipline under the basic agreement is for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to "obstruct and frustrate" the investigation.
The other players who were handed 50-game suspensions include Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo and recently demoted Mets utility man Jordany Valdespin.
Cruz's suspension came when the Rangers had just 50 games left in the regular season. In other words, it didn't come at a good time for the Rangers, but Ryan didn't question the timing.
"It's hard for us to form an opinion because we weren't involved in the investigation," Ryan said. "So not knowing that MLB made it a priority. ... That's what it appeared to me to be. I don't know what kind of hurdles they faced. I'd like to think they made it a priority and they tried to do it as quickly as they possibly could, but they also, I'm confident, they tried to be as thorough as they possibly could be."
• Shortstop Elvis Andrus was used at designated hitter on Monday night after his back tightened up during batting practice. Ian Kinsler, who was originally in the lineup at DH, started at second and Jurickson Profar moved over to shortstop.
• Former Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton on Nelson Cruz being suspended: "I'm very surprised. It's one of those things, you know? You're teammates, you spend a lot of times with him. Some guys keep certain parts of their lives to themselves. Take from what you see. Nellie was always a good teammate. I enjoy playing with him and enjoy having him in the locker room. I saw his statement that he made a mistake. I've made plenty of those."
• Cody Buckel, the Rangers' No. 8 prospect, and Neftali Feliz each threw a scoreless inning for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers on Monday. It was Buckel's first appearance in a game since May. He has been dealing with control issues after a terrible April in Double-A. He walked two on Monday but also struck out three.
• Third baseman Adrian Beltre celebrated being American League Player of the Month for July with a trip to the dentist's office on Monday morning for some painful oral surgery.
• The Rangers went into Monday's game having committed just one error in their last nine games.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.