Lance Berkman joins the Rangers - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Lance Berkman joins the Rangers

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Free agent first baseman/designated hitter Lance Berkman told FOX 26 Sports he has agreed to a one-year contract with the Texas Rangers that includes a vesting option for a second year.

Berkman said he has yet to sign the contract and the deal is pending he pass his physical.

"It's a wonderful opportunity," Berkman said. "I feel great about it.

"I felt like I was probably going to retire at the end of the season last year, but I've improved physically and with the interest the Rangers showed, it was just a deal I couldn't turn down."

Rangers president Nolan Ryan told FOX 26 Sports on Friday that if Berkman is healthy he can be a major asset to any Major League club.

"Nolan is obviously the penultimate Texas legendary baseball player," Berkman said. To get that sort of an appraisal from him is high praise indeed and certainly I hope not to let him down.

"I want to do everything I can to live up to those expectations."

Berkman had wanted a two-year contract, but given he played in only 32 games last year because of a knee issue, he is more than happy with his Rangers deal.

"It's a year with an option that vests," Berkman said. "The club wanted some protection and obviously I understand that.

"With my physical past, I was more than happy to oblige them on that part of it just because it is an uncertain thing when you're talking about sports, especially with an older athlete.

"I feel pretty good right now, but you don't know what's going to happen after six months of the season and I think it's good for both sides to have a little bit of protection. If I can stay healthy and produce then I get another year to play."

Berkman spoke a number of times with the Astros about returning to the organziation where he became one of the club's all-time great players.

"I've got high praise for the Astros organization," Berkman said. "The way that they handled the negotiation and the way they communicated with me was second to none.

"I really feel like the Astros are headed in the right direction. I understood that they've got a lot of young guys they want to play and they are kind of on a rebuilding project. The fit wasn't exactly what either side needed, I guess you could say.

"I certainly have tremendous good will toward the Astros organization, and being a Houstonian I look forward to a continued relationship with those guys down the road."

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